From your Representative Assembly - November 2021

November 2, 2021

Summary of the February 5 meeting of the Representative Assembly

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Members of the Representative Assembly (RA) met in February for their third virtual meeting since the pandemic started in Canada a year ago. The following is a summary of the meeting.

Speaker and Deputy Speaker

Dr Eric Cadesky facilitated his first meeting as Speaker, with Dr Shelley Ross taking on the role of Deputy Speaker. The Speaker thanked Drs Michael Golbey and Alan Gow who previously served as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, and whose support was instrumental to a successful transition. A total of 18 new RA members attended their first meeting.

COVID-19 vaccine update

Doctors of BC CEO Mr Allan Seckel provided an update on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Discussion points included:

  • The scope and complexity of the campaign means that in urban areas the vaccines will be delivered in large public venues rather than doctors offices over the next few months. The exception will be in rural and remote communities, where doctors’ offices are more likely to be involved in administering vaccines to patients. 
  • Doctors will play a critical role in the campaign in a number of areas: health authorities will be seeking input and advice from doctors about the roll-out in their communities, they will be asked to do vaccinations, and they will play an important role as a trusted source of information to patients about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, and in addressing vaccine hesitancy.
  • Doctors of BC has played an important part in advocating for physicians and their patients in the pandemic response.

In the subsequent Q and A, family doctors expressed concerns about their vulnerable patients, particularly people without access to computers and those with language barriers who will not have easy access to register for the vaccines. Doctors of BC will ensure that issue is raised with the provincial campaign organizers.  On another topic, Mr Seckel stated that Doctors of BC is in discussions with the Ministry regarding continuation of telehealth fees and support for the integration of virtual care into physician offices post-pandemic.

Diversity and inclusion

As part of the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias training will soon be provided in the following order: to the Board and Nominating Committee, all Committee chairs and vice-chairs, the RA and all committee members. Training will also be provided to Doctors of BC staff following the completion of an equity, diversity and inclusion audit that will help to identify gaps as they pertain to unconscious bias, discrimination, cultural sensitivity, and anti-racism. 


RA members spent the largest part of the day discussing priorities for upcoming negotiations toward a new Physician Master Agreement (PMA). A survey that followed discussions showed that RA members gave the greatest value to maintaining current PMA protections and previously-negotiated benefits. They also saw the following as key priorities: funding for intersectional disparity, virtual care, cost of doing business, and the Joint Collaborative Committees. Others commented on the importance of communication to ensure members understand the negotiations process.

Open forum

The day finished with an open forum where members discussed wide-ranging topics such as: Pharmanet access and costs, the Tariff process for service fees, governance reform, virtual care, and physician mental health. 

Next meeting

RA meetings will continue to be conducted online for the remainder of 2021. The next meeting  is scheduled for May 28th and will be followed by the Doctors of BC Annual General Meeting. 

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