The president of the group that represents Ontario doctors is in danger of losing her job after 25 members of the Ontario Medical Association's elected council called for a special meeting to vote on ousting the organization's entire executive committee.
In a Jan. 11 letter to the OMA's chief executive officer, the signatories accuse the association's leadership team of a slew of failings, including a reluctance to stand up to the provincial government.
The letter includes motions to remove all six members of the OMA's executive, including president Virginia Walley and president-elect Stephen Chris.
"Poor leadership has contributed to an environment where physicians are routinely marginalized, disrespected, insulted and ignored by the current government. The profession desperately needs unity, and unity will only be achieved with strong, effective, and determined leadership," reads the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail on Monday night.
The Globe also obtained a copy of a nine-page document, entitled Grievances against OMA Board Executive Committee, which lays out the 13 key concerns of the delegates spearheading the effort to get rid of the leadership.
The document accuses the OMA of responding tepidly to Bill 41, a restructuring of the health-care system that passed the legislature last year; of wasting members' money on expensive lobbying efforts with "poor follow through"; of backing an aggressive campaign in favour of a tentative contract that doctors rejected last summer; and of failing to properly support grassroots campaigns by doctors.
The OMA's 275-member council is made up of doctors elected from across the province. A date has not yet been set for council members to vote on the leadership's future.
Even if the bid to remove Dr. Walley and the others fails, this effort is the latest evidence of deep divisions within Ontario's medical profession, which is also locked in a long-running battle with Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government.
Doctors in Ontario have been without a contract since March 31, 2014. In the meantime, the Liberal government has imposed unilateral fee cuts on the profession in a bid to control health-care costs.
In August, OMA members voted down a tentative physician-services agreement that was reached in secret and endorsed by their own leaders, including Dr. Walley.
Last month, officials from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care presented the OMA with a surprise offer that was similar to the deal turned down in the summer.
The OMA rejected the proposed new terms and said it would consider job action, including possibly withdrawing services for patients.
The OMA on Monday night confirmed it has received the request for a special meeting of the council, but a spokeswoman said by e-mail that the organization would not comment further.
Nadia Alam, a Georgetown doctor and OMA council member who is helping to spearhead the bid to fire the executive committee, was not available for comment Monday night.
Dr. Alam was formerly an outspoken member of Concerned Ontario Doctors, one of the groups that sprang up to oppose the tentative agreement last summer.
Sohail Gandhi, another doctor who signed the letter, said by e-mail Monday night that "when push comes to shove, and patient care is put at risk, physicians across Ontario have a long history of uniting and fighting for our patients … with respect to internal OMA issues however, those issues are not really in the public interest, and we will not be commenting on them at this time."