Dear Minister Hoskins,
I am writing to you with respect to the federal Liberal government’s recently proposed changes to professional corporations, and the unintended negative impacts it will have on patients, taxpayers and physicians.
This government has spent three years in an aggressive attempt to contain physician costs to the extent of imposing unilateral cuts and using heavy-handed tactics designed to embarrass the profession into accepting lower fee increases. These tactics failed and their results are still being felt within the health care system and the physician community.
I raise this, because it illustrates the extent to which your government was prepared to journey in order to avoid increases to physicians pay.
The changes that the federal Liberals are proposing to private corporations would see physicians stripped of the tax provisions granted to small businesses. It will create financial barriers for doctors to make investments in their practices, or continue to pay staff and office expenses during absences such as maternity leave, or the physician’s illness. In addition, the changes negatively impact their retirement planning process. I will remind you that the incorporation of physicians (provisions of which were re-negotiated with the OMA under your government’s tenure) was granted in lieu of pay increases.
If these federal government’s proposed changes are implemented, the province will need to address the massive financial implications on physicians.
Within the context of binding arbitration that your government has granted to physicians, it seems likely that the OMA would have no shortage of arguments to demand major compensation to cover the loss of the tax provisions currently granted to doctors. It also seems likely that an appointed arbitrator would see this as a significant material change and one that would require redress.
Unfortunately, the results of this unnecessary move by the federal government, would ultimately dominate negotiations between the OMA and the province; it would distract from the many crucial issues confronting the delivery of services in Ontario upon which both parties should be squarely focused during negotiations.
The people of Ontario certainly do not need another battle between physicians and the province or the federal government at this time- that does not serve patients well. Ontario taxpayers do not need an additional burden resulting from this short-sighted and discriminatory thinking.
I urge you and Premier Wynne to advocate on behalf of our healthcare system and ensure the Federal government does not download these costs to our province.
Jeff Yurek, MPP
Ontario PC Health Critic