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The Canadian Medical Association’s AGM

Overview and Introduction to the CMA AGM

This weekend the Canadian Medical Association will be meeting in St. John’s Newfoundland for their Annual General Meeting. Alongside the broader CMA meeting, the General Council of the CMA will also be holding its annual meeting. The General Council is the governing body of the CMA and it is the “supreme policy-making body”. It refers to itself as the “parliament of Canadian medicine”.

The Canadian Medical Association holds a powerful seat in Canada’s health care policy-making. This coming week (Saturday-Wednesday) the CMA will be discussing the outcome of their national townhalls, their opinion on the 2014 health care accord, and six key themes (see below) that they see as essential in a pan-Canadian action plan for 2014. They are hoping to leave this conference with a “strong and united voice” on “issues related to the health of Canadians, the sustainability of Canada’s health care system and the future of the medical profession”, said Sandra Luscombe, President of Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association .

CMA President-Elect

This CMA election won`t be as controversial as some in the past (who could forget the infamous Dr. Brian Day, aka Dr. Profit). However, it`s still important for Canadians to be aware of who is being elected to fill the role of President-Elect 2012-2013; President 2013-2014; and Past-President 2014-2015, as this is likely the person who will be at the table for the 2014 renegotiation of the Canada Health Accord.

It is expected that the nomination of Dr. Anna Reid will ratified at this AGM. Dr. Reid practices in Yellowknife, NWT. She has been president of the NWT Medical Association for the past two years and has worked on several committees and workshops promoting and training doctors in rural medicine. Dr. Reid’s presidency will be the first time the NWT Medical Association has held this position.

Dr. Reid seems to bring a passion for aboriginal and rural Canadian health to the position: “Aboriginal health outcomes are by far the worst in the country for many, many diseases, mental health, addictions, those sorts of things and so I think it will be good to have a voice that really highlights those issues in a way that hasn’t been highlighted before.”

Dr. Reid also understands the need to call on the federal government to set national standards of care:  “there are a number of problems in the health care system that cannot be fixed through individual patient interactions and must be dealt with on a national level… ‘We’re interested in lobbying for more long-term care, community care initiatives’” said Reid.

We hope that the next President-Elect of the CMA is committed to the principles and provisions of the Canada Health Act. We need a CMA leader who is committed to publicly funded and delivered health care services. And we urge Dr. Reid to come out strongly in favour of building a more just and expanded universal health care system. Click here to read more about Dr. Anna Reid.

Watching the CMA Live

For those who are interested in watching some of the CMA’s AGM (General Council only), there will be parts of the meeting available for viewing online (see right hand side of page). However, several days will not be videotaped including Sunday when the delegates will discuss the 2014 Health Care Accord. An additional discussion of the CHAccord will take place on the Monday however, viewing will only be permitted to members (you must be a member of your provincial/territorial medical association).

Key Themes

The CMA’s website and media release state that the AGM delegates will devote the bulk of their meeting time to discuss six main themes:

Patient-centred: Patients must be at the centre of health care, with seamless access to the continuum of care based on their needs.

Quality: Canadians deserve quality services that are appropriate for patient needs, respect individual choice and are delivered in a manner that is timely, safe, effective and according to the most currently available scientific knowledge.

Health promotion and illness prevention: The health system must support Canadians in the prevention of illness and the enhancement of their well-being, with attention paid to broader social determinants of health.

Equitable: The health care system has a duty to Canadians to provide and advocate for equitable access to quality care and commonly adopted policies to address the social determinants of health.

Sustainable: Sustainable health care requires universal access to quality health services that are adequately resourced and delivered across the board in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Accountable: The public, patients, families, providers and funders all have a responsibility for ensuring the system is effective and accountable.

The Council of Canadians will continue to watch and report on outcomes from the CMA`s AGM as they are released.