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  • Writer's pictureMatt Gurney

For the love of God, give family doctors more money

OPINION: “More money” may not be the solution for everything. But when it comes to retaining and recruiting GPs, it’s about as close to a magic bullet as we’re likely to find

May 9, 2024

Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones attend an announcement at Seneca College, in King City, on February 9. (Chris Young/CP)

I don’t like being spun or lied to. That’s a personal comment and also a professional one. I’m okay with unpleasant truths. Just don’t try to convince me that a bad thing is a good thing or deny that there is a bad thing.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones is trying to do one or the other, and it’s not going to work.

Let’s take a minute to set this out properly. It’s not, to be clear, Jones herself, directly and personally, that’s making the argument. It’s a legal argument being made, by her representatives, in an arbitration case between the health ministry and the Ontario Medical Association. The OMA represents Ontario’s doctors in negotiations with the province on matters such as compensation. The two parties are currently in arbitration on the issue of physician pay, and it was in that context that ministry officials wrote this in their filing to the arbitrator: “We will illustrate that there is no concern of a diminished supply of physicians. Across Canada, Ontario has the best record in attracting medical graduates to train in Ontario. Further, Ontario has enjoyed a growth in physicians that far outstrips population growth.”

Oh, well. Okay, then. Never mind.

Look, I’m a grown up, and I know there must always be room for rhetorical manoeuvring. Both politics and the law require a degree of interpretation of the facts, shall we say, and it is of course true that not every fact leads directly to a single conclusion. There is always room for persuasion. I get that. This is especially true in areas where it’s not politics and not law, but both at once. The province’s filing to the arbitrator is one of those moments. Fair enough.


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