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PTMA Newsletter - Issue 2 2015

CMA Board of Directors meeting

Feb. 27-28, 2015
Ottawa, ON

Major discussion topics

  • End-of-life decision ramifications
  • National strategy on seniors care
  • Physician accountability
  • CMA election strategy

End-of-life care update

Protecting both physicians’ and patients’ rights around end-of-life care choices was central to the discussion by board members regarding the ramifications of the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling.

The board approved in principle the foundational principles for a physician-assisted dying framework that includes wide communication, consultation with stakeholders and advocacy for better palliative care.

Consultation will lead to an in-depth discussion of the topic at General Council in August.

Seniors strategy

Board members expressed great interest in a two-pronged approach to efforts to advance a national strategy on seniors care, but want more time to study the proposal.

An overall plan was endorsed in principle that would see the association leading a strategy based on outcomes that are measurable and achievable.

Board members felt an area where the CMA could show leadership would be by launching an outcomes-based action plan to reduce the number of alternate level of care (ALC) days that hospital beds are occupied by seniors awaiting most-appropriate care elsewhere.

Physician accountability

Prof. Adalsteinn Brown, from the University of Toronto, gave a presentation leading to discussion on physician accountability in the health care system.

Board members explored how physicians and the CMA could foster a culture of accountability.

Election planning 2015

Key points:

  • Canadians deeply concerned about state of health care system
  • Strong appetite for a national seniors strategy if presented as benefiting all patients
  • CMA should be ‘convenor’ of issue, seeking high-level solution acceptable at federal, provincial/territorial levels

Emerging Issues

  • Ontario negotiations
  • Update on Quebec Bills 10 and 20
  • CMA Ethics Committee to develop position on mandatory vaccination for school-age children

2015 General Council

  • Increased opportunities for medical students, residents, young doctors to engage with CMA will be developed
  • Board approved general timetable and proposed session topics, also requested a panel Q & A session on health care issues with main federal party reps and host provincial minister of health; other session topics include: opioid use in non-malignant pain management; physician role in a national seniors strategy; health human resources and system capacity beyond medical education; regulatory framework for end-of-life care
  • CMA Awards and President’s Gala on Tuesday night

Modern workplace

Update provided on board working group activities, including comments from staff surveys, wider consultations

*Final recommendations to be brought to May board meeting

Committee on Archives and Awards

  • CMA Medical Student/Resident Award for Political Action to be sunset
  • Committee directed by board to do a review of current CMA awards to enhance learner and early career physician engagement with the CMA and report back to the board

Consent agenda

Several items were approved:

  • award recipients for 2015
  • report of Working Group on Disposition of GC Resolutions
  • Statement on Authorizing Marijuana for Medical Purposes
  • request to consult on principles for mobile health apps for patients
  • request to consult on draft policy on physician resource planning (update 2015)
  • requests for affiliation by Trauma Association of Canada and Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery to be sent to General Council 2015 for approval

“Our work is far from finished”: CMA to continue leadership role on end-of-life care

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) will continue to take a leadership role in responding to the Supreme Court decision striking down the Criminal Code prohibition on physician-assisted dying.

At its recent meeting, the CMA Board of Directors endorsed a wide-ranging communications and consultation strategy with the public, members and other stakeholders.

“Our members and our patients expect the CMA to continue to play an active role in the discussions on this important issue,” said CMA President Chris Simpson. “Much has been accomplished already, but our work is far from finished in terms of ensuring the vulnerable are protected, and providing clarity for Canadian physicians.”

The next phase of CMA’s work will be based on several foundational principles that were also endorsed in principle by the board:

  • Respect for patient autonomy
  • Equity — all Canadians who meet the criteria should have access to assisted dying, as for any other medically approved intervention
  • Consent— all requirements for patient consent must be clearly met and patients should be capable of making an informed decision free from undue coercion
  • Clarity — there should be no “grey areas” in legislation or regulations so that the process to be followed and the patients who will qualify for assisted dying are clear to everyone
  • Dignity — patients and their families should be treated with respect and dignity
  • Accountability — there should be a reporting and oversight mechanism
  • Respect for conscientious objection by physicians and other care providers; no physician or other health care provider should be forced to take part in any aspect of the assisted dying process against their wishes

The CMA committee on ethics will meet in April to further consider a draft regulatory framework based on these principles that the CMA could use to work with the federal government and other bodies drafting legislation and regulations.

In June and July, the CMA will undertake focused consultations with its members and stakeholders on this framework, leading to a discussion at the CMA General Council meeting in Halifax in August.

Earlier, the CMA applauded debate on the opposition motion in the House of Commons on the issue. In a statement, Simpson said the CMA recognizes the important leadership role to be played by the federal government on physician-assisted dying. Simpson stressed that patient needs must be respected and the physician perspective reflected in any new legislation.

Simpson also reiterated the importance of the availability of better palliative care in Canada. He said that while the Supreme Court decision was historic, “good palliative care will always be the cornerstone of quality end-of-life care.”

Reporting of drug shortages to be made mandatory

A decision by Health Canada mandating drug manufacturers to report drug shortages, has been applauded by the Canadian Medical Association.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced plans to establish an independent third-party website “for companies to provide timely, comprehensive and reliable information to Canadians on anticipated and actual drug shortages. The website will also provide information on multi-stakeholder efforts to address actual shortages, and provide tools to ensure Canadians can access the information they need.”

Ambrose also announced a Public Notification Register on Health Canada’s website that will list all the manufacturers that have committed to providing voluntary public notification of shortages, and includes public letters to companies that fail to live up to these expectations. Until the mandatory system is up and running, manufacturers are expected to continue voluntarily posting information on all shortages on the industry-run website,

The CMA and its specialty affiliate organizations have taken a leadership role in calling for resolution of drug shortages since such shortages were highlighted in 2010. Many specialty groups believe the shortages of prescription drugs in Canada are so severe that they are having an impact on the delivery of appropriate patient care.

CMA President Chris Simpson applauded the announcement stating “the CMA commends the federal government for today’s commitment ... This reporting framework is a welcome and necessary step to communicating the persistent shortages of prescription medication in recent years, shortages which have serious consequences for patient care.”

In 2013, the CMA adopted a policy on drug shortages stating “the escalation in shortages of prescription drugs in the past few years and the ongoing disruptions to supply experienced in Canada and globally are matters of grave concern to the CMA and its members.

“Drug shortages are having a detrimental impact on the delivery of patient care and treatment and the availability of health care services across the country,” the statement continued.

In that document, the CMA advocated a number of steps to address the issue, including establishment of a legislative framework requiring pharmaceutical companies to provide advance notice of production stoppages and any forecast disruptions in the drug supply.

In the wake of the government announcement, the CMA said other steps outlined in its policy document should be carried out such as further investigation into the underlying causes of drug shortages and the development of mitigation strategies to reduce shortages and their impact on patient health and patient care.

A survey conducted by the CMA, Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) and Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists in October, 2013 indicated shortages were “a significant problem.”

That survey found:

  • 66% of MDs report drug shortages have worsened since 2010
  • 47% of doctors said patient visits are growing longer as MDs seek appropriate drugs to substitute for those in short supply
  • 67% of physicians reported they are spending more time researching and consulting as they seek alternatives to drugs in short supply

Last June, Health Canada Health Canada sought input from Canadian physicians and members of the public on the current approach to notifications about the shortages.

There are currently more than 700 drugs listed on documenting the shortages.

Avery elected the 2015 CMA president-elect nominee

Dr. Granger Avery has been selected by members of Doctors of BC to be their nominee as president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

Avery received more of the 2,624 votes cast than either of the two other candidates — Drs. Shelley Ross and Nasir Jetha.

If the nomination is confirmed by General Council in August — usually a formality — Avery will serve as president-elect until August 2016, when he will take on the mantle of president during the CMA’s 149th annual meeting in Vancouver.

Avery is a general practitioner from Port McNeill, on the northeastern shore of Vancouver Island. He served as president of Doctors of BC (then known as the BC Medical Association) in 1997-98 and has been chair of the general meeting of that association since 2009.

Avery was a member of the CMA Board of Directors for 10 years; the two other candidates have both been recent presidents of the provincial association and are current members of the CMA board.

Voting for the position took place electronically from Jan. 16 to Feb. 23, and all candidates campaigned actively for the position in person, online and through social media.

In his candidate statement posted on his election web page, Avery stressed his background in rural generalist practice and his three decades of experience in medical politics.

“Despite the continued conscientious work by physicians, Canada has recently been ranked 10th of 11 Western nations’ health systems by the Commonwealth Fund and 5th of 11 for costs per capita,” he wrote. “The well-recognized federal retreat from Canadian health care responsibilities has been a large part of this, and must change.”

In a Jan. 15 letter to doctors in the province he added: “I think the CMA has an indispensable role in reversing the trend and improving the system for all Canadians.”

In other documents referenced on the website, Avery weighed in on the importance of generalism in medicine and has committed to working to relieve the debt load facing medical students.

Infopratique now accredited

CMA members can now earn 0.5 Mainpro-M1 credits by reading an Infopratique article summary. Infopratique clinical updates summarize evidence-based, high-quality research that addresses a variety of clinical issues for GPs and specialists. Written by residents from various medical specialties, under the direction and supervision of Drs. Michel Cauchon and Michel Labrecque, professors in the Department of family and emergency medicine, and with the participation of clinical professors of the Laval University network, each InfoPratique summary presents a structured abstract and a review of a scientific research paper of significance for clinical practice that was discussed in a journal club.

The articles are available only in French, and are published bi-weekly on and sent via email to registered member subscribers.

For additional information contact Renee de Gannes-Marshall.

CMA Discounts extended to PTMA Staff

Did you know that PTMA employees can also access many of the CMA member discounts? You can get discounts on hotels, cellular packages, car rentals, VIA Rail, leisure packages and more. CMA will be distributing the access codes in the coming weeks to your Human Resource department so contact them for full details so you can start saving with CMA.

CMA physician leadership opportunities

New! Online PMI physician leadership course coming in April
Effective Communication Skills for Physician Leaders

Physicians will gain knowledge of concepts and key themes in effective communication to enrich their practice and will develop a greater understanding of their communication style and its impact on others. This six-week facilitated online course consists of online modules, videos, readings, discussion forums and self-assessment tools, and requires four to five hours of investment per week.

Learn more

PMI physician leadership courses travel to Halifax

Developing and Leading Systems Improvement – June 1-2, 2015, Halifax, NS

Leadership Strategies for Sustainable Physician Engagement – June 3-4, 2015, Halifax, NS

See the full list of 2015 PMI open-enrolment courses

In-house PMI physician leadership courses

The CMA brings customized physician leadership courses to a workplace, event, conference or annual meeting. Training can be offered to physicians alone or to interdisciplinary teams that include physicians, other providers, managers and administrators. Contact us at or 800 663-7336 ext. 2932.

Canadian Conference on Physician Leadership

Physicians can register now for the CME accredited 2015 Canadian Conference on Physician Leadership “Thriving in Complexity: Physicians Enabling Transformational Change” on April 24-25, 2015 being held at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver.

For additional information visit

Upcoming events in your province or territory

Date Event City Province Details
10-MarSaskatoon Transition to ResidencySaskatoonSKMD Seminar
10-MarSeminar for Female Physicians (1)KitchenerONMD Seminar
11-MarRetirement Readiness SeminarNiagara FallsONMD/OMA Seminar
11-MarSeminar Series for Female Physicians (2)WindsorONMD Seminar
11-MarTax Tips for Residents – uOttawa (2)OttawaONMD Seminar
12-MarRetirement Readiness SeminarTorontoONMD/OMA Seminar
14-MarU of A Internal Med Retreat 2015CanmoreABMD Seminar
15-MarU of T Neurology Financial TalkTorontoONMD Seminar
15-MarFirst Time HomebuyerCalgaryABMD Seminar
18-MarSeminar Series for Female Physicians (2)LondonONMD Seminar
18-MarTax Tips for Residents – uOttawa (3)OttawaONMD Seminar
19-MarUBC Chilliwack Resident SeminarChilliwackBCMD Seminar
19-MarIntroduction to Financial PlanningOttawaONMD Seminar
19-MarGala de remerciementTrois-RivièresQCNetworking
19-22-MarAlberta Psychiatric Association: Scientific Conference and Annual General MeetingBanffABCMA/MD Exhibiting
21-MarNeurology SymposiumMontrealQCNetworking
21-MarEmergency Medicine SymposiumMontrealQCNetworking
22-MarMed Ed Seminar QCQuebecQCMD Seminar
22-MarOshawa GeneralsOshawaONMD Event
23-MarGala des Merites – FMMS University of SherbrookeSherbrookeQCMD Sponsoring
24-MarMa première maison: les pièges à éviterQuebecQCMD Seminar
24-MarHome Buyer SeminarLavalQCMD Seminar
26-MarTax Tips for Residents – uOttawa (4)OttawaONMD Seminar
26-MarClient Appreciation Wine and CheesePrince GeorgeBCMD Event
26-MarTax-Wise Investing for Incorporated PhysiciansLondonONMD Seminar
26-28 MarMcGill University Health Centre and McGill Homecoming & Medical SymposiumMontrealQCCMA/MD
27-MarU of A Family Med Retreat – FreZer 2015JasperABMD Exhibiting
28-MarUBC MedBallVancouverBCNetworking
28-MarQueen’s Interview Weekend (2)KingstonONTrade Show
28-MarPrivate Movie: DreamWorks HOMESherbrookeQCFamily Event
31-MarTransition to Residency – uOttawa (EN)OttawaONMD Seminar
31-MarTransition to Residency-uOttawa (FR)OttawaONMD Seminar
31-MarSéminaire pour étudiants en médicine : guide de survie financièreQuebecQCMD Seminar
2-AprTransition to Residency – Queen’sKingstonONMD Seminar
7-AprFiscalité des placements : particuliers et sociétésQuebecQCMD Seminar
8-AprSeminar for Female Physicians Kitchener (2)KitchenerONMD Seminar
9-11-AprDocs on Ice London 2015LondonONCMA/MD
9-11-AprSociety of Rural Physicians of Canada-23rd Annual Rural and Remote Medicine CourseMontrealQCCMA/MD Exhibiting
12-AprSeminar Series for Female Physicians (3)LondonONMD Seminar
15-AprTransition to Residency – NOSM EastSudburyONMD Seminar
16-17-AprJournées Montfort 2015OttawaONCMA/MD Exhibiting
16-18-AprThe Manitoba College of Family Physicians: 57th Annual Scientific AssemblyWinnipegMBCMA/MD Exhibiting
21-AprTransition to Residency – NOSM WestThunder-BayONMD Seminar
23-AprCanadian Medical Hall of Fame – 2015 Induction CeremonyWinnipegMBCMA/MD Sponsoring
24-25-Apr2015 Canadian Conference on Physician LeadershipVancouverBCCMA/MD Sponsoring & Exhibiting
25-28 AprCanadian Conference on Medical EducationVancouverBCCMA/MD Exhibiting
30-Apr-3-MayOntario Medical Association Annual General Meeting 2015TorontoONCMA/MD
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronCalgaryABMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronRichmond HillONMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronRichmond HillONMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronPrince GeorgeBCMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of Ultron (FR)MontrealQCMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of Ultron (EN)MontrealQCMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronNanaimoBCMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronEdmontonABMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronScarboroughONMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronCoquitlamBCMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronAbbotsfordBCMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronKelownaBCMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronSurreyBCMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronSt. CatharinesONMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronHamiltonONMD Family Event
2-MayAvengers: Age of UltronMississaugaONMD Family Event
3-MayAvengers: Age of UltronTorontoONMD Family Event
6-MayIncorporation – the right choice for your practice?VancouverBCMD Seminar
6-MayEstate Planning for Incorporated PhysiciansTorontoONMD Seminar
6-MayIncorporation: The Right Choice For Your Practice?VancouverBCMD Seminar
7-MaySeminar for Female Physicians Kitchener (3)KitchenerONMD Seminar
8-MayDoctors Manitoba – 107th Annual General MeetingWinnipegMBCMA/MD
6-9-May Primary Care TodayTorontoONCMA/MD Exhibiting
7-9-MayEmergency Medicine UpdateTorontoONCMA/MD Sponsoring & Exhibiting
8-9-MaySaskatchewan Medical Association Annual GeneralSaskatoonSKCMA/MD
20-23-MayCanadian Association of Physical Medicine & RehabilitationVancouverBCCMA/MD Exhibiting
23-24-MayBritish Columbia College of Family PhysiciansVancouverBCCMA/MD Exhibiting
28-30-MayCanadian Society of Palliative Care PhysiciansCalgaryABCMA/MD Exhibiting
29-MayOntario Medical Student Bursary Fund – Golf TournamentMarkhamONMD Sponsoring
30-MayNew Brunswick Medical Society Foundation-Celebration of Medicine 2015St.Andrew’sNBCMA/MD Exhibiting
4-6-JunNew Brunswick College of Family PhysiciansMonctonNBCMA/MD Exhibiting
5-6-JunDoctors Nova Scotia Annual ConferenceCape BretonNSCMA
6- JunDoctors of BC Annual Meeting & Convention 2015VancouverBCCMA
6- JunNewfoundland and Labrador Medical Association Annual General MeetingSt. John’sNLCMA
5-7-JunRetirement Retreat WeekendJackson’s PointONMD Event
9-12-JunSociety of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada Annual MeetingQuebecQCCMA/MD Exhibiting
19-22-JunCAS 2015-Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society Annual MeetingOttawaONCMA/MD Exhibiting
23-26-AugCMA Annual General CouncilHalifaxNSCMA/MD Exhibiting
25-AugMontfort Hospital Foundation’s Charity Golf TournamentOttawaONMD Sponsoring

For additional information please contact Geneva Forestell.