The Ford government has backed down on its decision to withdraw from binding arbitration with the province’s doctors.
The Ontario Medical Association sent an email to its members Friday afternoon, stating that the government has agreed to return to arbitration hearings aimed at resolving an almost-five-year-old contract dispute.
The reversal comes three days after the government informed the OMA it was bowing out of the process.
At the time it said it did not have confidence in the OMA to deliver on the outcome from the process. It cited as its reason a movement by a small group of high-paid specialists to split from the OMA, the legally recognized bargaining agent for the profession.
The government’s withdrawal resulted in an angry backlash by doctors.
As well, it resulted in a schism within government, numerous sources have told the Star. The office of Premier Doug Ford pulled the plug on arbitration, despite the objections of Health Minister Christine Elliott, the sources said.
“Good news: late this morning, the Ontario Medical Association was formally advised that the government has agreed to resume arbitration hearings on our Physician Services Agreement,” stated the email to members signed by OMA president Dr. Nadia Alam.
“Our mutual goal is to achieve a fair and reasonable outcome for doctors, patients and government,” she added.