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Sault council calls on province to recognize doctor shortage


Sault Ste. Marie city council is calling on the provincial government to recognize Ontario’s physician shortage.

This comes as the province and the Ontario Medical Association are in arbitration over a physician pay dispute, with both sides far apart on what doctors should be paid.

A recent submission from the Ministry of Health to the arbitrator is what caught the attention of Sault Mayor Matthew Shoemaker.

“In the province’s submissions to that arbitrator, they’ve said, essentially, that there is no physician shortage in the province, which is clearly untrue to places like Sault Ste. Marie,” said Shoemaker.

Part of the resolution passed by city council calls on the government to “appropriately” fund health care.

“They did fix the compensation model in British Columbia,” Shoemaker said.

“It was very similar to the one that Ontario is currently using, and it increased the number of doctors, physicians graduating med school and going into family medicine, which is really where the shortage is in Ontario.”

A statement from the Ministry of Health said, in part, that the province has invested in 78 inter-professional primary care teams, including two in Sault Ste. Marie, to connect some 8,000 people to care.

It also touts the addition of 44 undergraduate and 63 residency positions at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. The statement goes on to say the government recognizes there is still work to be done.

Shoemaker said there has been little direct contact between his office and the Ministry of Health, despite repeated calls.

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“It’s surprising to me that we’ve been able to raise the ire of the Ministry of Health by criticizing them for not taking this problem seriously, and they’ve responded through the media,” he said.

“Yet the responses will not come directly from them to us when we ask them for it.” Top Stories

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