Report from the Board - June 2021

June 25, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I am honoured to address you as the new chair of the Board of Directors, following an election at the June Board meeting as mandated by our bylaws. I am pleased to announce that Dr Adam Thompson has been elected vice-chair. I want to thank Dr Jeff Dresselhuis, who made the decision to not stand for re-election, and our previous vice-chair Dr Lloyd Oppel. They led the Board through a challenging 15 months that encompassed the COVID-19 pandemic and the ratification of a 2019 Physician Master Agreement. I look forward to guiding the Board as we move into a post-pandemic world.

Here is a summary of the key topics and decisions from our June Board meeting.


The Board approved the negotiations mandate for the 2022 Physician Master Agreement (PMA). The mandate was developed by the Negotiations Coordinating Group (login required) led by Dr Trina Larsen Soles and Doctors of BC negotiations staff.  It was also reviewed with input provided by the Negotiations Forum (login required).

Dr Larsen Soles and Chief Negotiator Paul Straszak briefed the Board on the proposed core objectives and provided a detailed breakdown of the bargaining strategy. Directors were also asked to consider the negotiating environment in addition to the priorities of members, in particular as we move into the post-pandemic environment.  

The mandate incorporates input provided through a wide-ranging consultation with members, sections and societies over the last year. You can read a brief summary of our consultation in the 'Negotiations Update' section of the May 3 In Circulation newsletter (login required). The negotiations mandate is not shared publicly as it sets out the confidential bottom line and strategies for the discussions. It is anticipated that formal negotiations at the bargaining table will start this fall.

Policy statement on illicit drug toxicity/overdose crisis  

The Board approved a new policy statement entitled Illicit Drugs Toxicity/Overdose Crisis. Doctors of BC recognizes the severe impact the crisis has had on British Columbians. The policy statement outlines action that Doctors of BC feels is needed to respond to this ongoing public health emergency. To prevent drug toxicity injuries and deaths, the policy supports a multi-pronged approach based on the principles of harm reduction, prevention, treatment, and enforcement. This includes support for:

  • Decriminalization of simple possession of all controlled substances for personal use.
  • Enhanced coordination of and improved access to a range of community-based, culturally appropriate, evidence-informed substance use. prevention, harm reduction, and treatment programs and services.
  • Increased access to health and social programs and services to address the social determinants of health.
  • Efforts to separate people from the toxic, illicit drug supply, and prevent unintentional toxic drug poisoning or overdose, including improved access to safer pharmaceutical alternatives.

Doctors of BC consulted with members in the development of the policy statement, which will be used to provide a strong foundation for advocacy on this issue.  

Supporting diversity and inclusion

Doctors of BC is committed to increased diversity and inclusion within our governance bodies (the Board and Representative Assembly, and our committees).  Directors took another step toward this goal by approving a change to the Nominating Committee’s  (login required) process of selecting candidates to recommend to the Board for committee openings.

In addition to considering the skills and abilities needed for the position, the Nominating Committee will also consider how applicants can support or contribute to diversity and an inclusive environment. The Board encourages all members to consider applying for positions on committees. Information on vacancies and how to apply is regularly sent to members by e-mail. We also encourage you to check for vacancies on our website page.

The Association will also conduct a survey to learn more about the demographics of members currently serving on committees to help the Nominating Committee when reviewing candidates. Please note that Doctors of BC will be collecting more detailed information on the demographic makeup of the broader membership in 2022.

Committee appointments

The Board approved the following appointments, as recommended by the Nominating Committee:

  • Dr Gaurav Bahl as Chair of the Alternate Payment Physician Issues Committee.
  • Dr Jiwei Li as Co-Chair of Shared Care Committee.
  • Dr Reena Khurana as Specialists member-at-large to the Shared Care Committee.

Board planning

The Board will be holding a “deep-dive” planning day in September. This is an opportunity for Directors to carve time away from day-by-day work to focus on one topic of significant concern to members. Directors decided that the topic for September will be digital health. This will be timely as a consultation with members is currently underway to help the Association set priorities for a digital health strategy.  Another session in December will focus on business autonomy.

Climate change and human health

Doctors of BC recognizes the significant impact climate change is having on human health and the need for everyone to work to reduce the rate at which climate change occurs.  To support this work, the Board approved a policy statement entitled Climate Change and Human Health, which commits to reducing our carbon footprint as an organization and supporting BC physicians to improve sustainability in their practices. The policy statement also makes recommendations, including:

  • Efforts of the Canadian Medical Association and BC Government to reduce the healthcare sectors’ greenhouse gas emissions be sustained and expanded wherever possible.
  • Health emergency management and planning activities integrate physician perspectives to ensure physicians are well positioned to provide care during climate-related events.
  • Health impact assessments be required in connection with all proposed projects and programs that have the potential to alter the environment to ensure mitigation of potential risks to human health.

Watch for the policy statement to be posted online and shared with members in the near future.

Approval of resolutions – Obesity and family caregivers

The Board approved two resolutions:

  • Recognizing obesity to be a chronic medical disease requiring enhanced research, treatment and prevention efforts.
  • Supporting formal recognition of family caregivers as partners in the care of residents in long-term facilities and assisted living who should be included in decision-making about care plans and the development of policies affecting residents.

Joint Collaborative Committees  

The Board has a strong interest the Joint Collaborative Committees (JCCs) and their work to provide value to our members. It is why our president, Dr Matthew Chow, meets with the physician co-chairs regularly and reports out on activities of the JCCs at every Board meeting. This month, Dr Chow’s overview included:

GPSC – Fee changes will be introduced by the GPSC, one of which will provide enhanced support for patients with alcohol or substance use disorders. GPSC is also engaged in facilitating discussions and resolutions on a number of issues relating to Urgent and Primary Care Centers (UPCCs).   

JSC – It was noted that the JSC’s funding is fully allocated through to the new Physician Master Agreement.

SSC and SCC –  Due to the pandemic, the committees have some unexpended funding and are considering ways to utilize them  within their own committees, and may explore opportunities that could support other committees that align with their goals and work plans.  

Thank you again for your ongoing support.

Submitted on behalf of the Board,

Dr Sophia Park