The Ontario Medical Association has rejected a proposed four-year fee agreement with the province.
Results of a vote were thought to be expected on Tuesday, but it was announced that 61.5 per cent of voters rejected the deal.
The association was voting on a four-year deal, increasing the province’s physician services budget by 2.5 per cent a year, up to $11.5-billion.
It would also have eliminated unilateral fee cuts from the government, and doctors would have been able to co-manage the system with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
The Ontario Medical Association says 55 per cent of its 29,000 members cast ballots in the vote on Sunday.
Many members expressed concern about the agreement because it did not include binding arbitration for future fee disputes.
The association now says it will ask to meet with the provincial government to discuss renewing negotiations.
Health Minister Eric Hoskins released a statement after the vote, saying, “It is disappointing that the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) membership did not ratify a historic four-year tentative Physician Services Agreement that would have offered the province’s physicians, for the first time, an opportunity to have a seat at the table where decisions are made about spending and the future of our health-care system. The tentative agreement also strengthened the quality, access and sustainability of health care in Ontario, while providing predictable annual increases to the physician services budget.”
Hoskins added that Ontarians’ access to physicians and their health care system will not be affected by the vote.
The OMA has been without a contract for the past two years.