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  • Writer's pictureMike Crawley

Want more family doctors in Ontario? Pay them better, say physicians

Inflation has outpaced average OHIP billings, prompting some doctors to opt out of family practice

Mar 11, 2024

Organizations representing doctors in Ontario say the province's payments to family physicians have fallen well behind inflation, and the erosion of their income is prompting doctors to opt out of family medicine. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

As the number of people across Ontario without a family doctor reaches a record high, Premier Doug Ford's government is facing a fresh push to make family practice more attractive to physicians by improving compensation.

The contract that covers how doctors are paid in this province, known as the physician services agreement, expires at the end of March. The government is in negotiations with the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), the doctors' bargaining agent, on a new deal.

Family doctors' pay in particular is in the spotlight in those talks, in a way that it hasn't been for a long time.

That's in part because there's a growing chorus of physicians arguing that compensation is one of the key root causes why at least 2.2 million Ontarians don't have a family doctor, a number forecast to nearly double in just a few years.

"The reality is the current contract that we have is modelled on the economics of 2001 and not on 2024," said Dr. Sohail Gandhi, a family doctor in the town of Stayner, near Collingwood, and a former president of the OMA. 

"The workload has gone up, the need for extra staff has gone up and the gross billings that we get haven't been able to keep up," said Gandhi in an interview with CBC News. 


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