Physicians vote in favour of new agreement with government

December 5, 2014

VANCOUVER – British Columbia’s doctors have voted in favour of accepting a new five-year agreement with the provincial government.

The new agreement respects government’s bargaining mandate while working to improve health-care services for British Columbians.

“The ratification of this agreement is another step forward in our continued work to collaborate with doctors on improving health-care services for patients,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Over the next five years, this agreement will help to enhance the health-care areas that matter most to B.C. families.”

The new agreement includes provisions to help address some of B.C.’s most pressing healthcare challenges, as identified in the ministry’s strategic plan, Setting Priorities for the BC Health Care System. Funding from the agreement will target increasing access to primary care services and improving care in rural and remote communities. The agreement also allows for more collaboration with specialists on how we can improve access to surgical services.

“We are pleased that our membership has voted in support of this agreement,” said Dr. Bill Cavers, president of Doctors of BC. “In addition to new funding for key areas of concern for doctors, the agreement provides us with five years of stability during which we can work with our partners to lead in bringing innovative change to the health-care system — change that will benefit patients.”

The agreement runs until March 31, 2019, and covers approximately 10,000 specialists and family physicians in the province.

Quick Facts:

  • This agreement is consistent with government's 2014 bargaining mandate and, at the same time, addresses recruitment and retention challenges and the health-care issues that matter most to British Columbians.
  • The Physician Master Agreement covers compensation, additional patient services, new doctors, as well as overhead costs.
  • The agreement provides funding increases for compensation and incentives of approximately 5.5% ($216 million) by the end of the five-year term.
  • The agreement also provides $143 million toward recruiting new physicians, addressing retention challenges in rural and remote areas, facilitating engagement of physicians in health authority facilities, and improving access for patients to family doctors and primary health-care services.
  • Similar to other agreements reached under the Economic Stability Mandate in the public sector, government will assess the ability to increase physician compensation if the economy performs better than forecasted.
  • Most physicians are independent contractors. Their services are paid for through fees, contractual arrangements and other incentive programs negotiated in this agreement.
  • Physicians are also typically responsible for the overhead costs associated with operating their practices, which may include IMIT infrastructure, medical equipment, clerical support and office space, to name a few examples. Other public sector employees generally do not have to pay for these costs.

Doctors of BCMinistry of Health