Arbitration Award

May 26, 2021

Dear Colleague,
On February 22nd we commenced negotiations with the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario via Zoom to negotiate our contract which had expired on June 30th, 2020. Armed with information from the membership negotiations survey conducted last spring and in the face of Bill 124, which limits any increase in compensation to 1% in each of three years, your Negotiations Team worked hard to get the best possible agreement.

Our goal was to creatively utilize every penny permitted under the restrictions imposed by Bill 124.

A very early win was agreement by the Hospitals to move forward with increasing everyone’s salary by 1% dating back to July 1st, 2020, without waiting until contract negotiations finished. This increase began rolling out in March. This was an unprecedented show of good faith on the part of the Hospitals in recognition of how hard residents have been working.
We were able to reach agreement on most items and jointly decided that we should take the outstanding items to mediation. Both sides met with our Mediator/Arbitrator, Mr. William Kaplan, on Saturday May 15th and presented our respective arguments. Mr. Kaplan is one of the most respected Arbitrators in Ontario and we have now received his decision, which is binding to both parties.
We will now begin the work of preparing the new contract for signature and as soon as that has been done, we will provide access to the full updated agreement on our website. In the meantime, I want to draw your attention to a non-exhaustive list of what we accomplished in this round of bargaining.
Highlights of the Award

  • TERM
    • Three-year contract from July 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2023
    • 1% increase in each of the three years of the term of the contract (the first 1% already implemented for March 2021; additional 1% increase on July 1st, 2021 and a further 1% increase on July 1st, 2022)
PGY LevelCurrent – retroactive to July 1st, 2020Effective July 1st,2021Effective July 1st,2022 
    • Lump sum payment of $105/resident in June 2021
Type of StipendCurrent AmountEffective July 1st, 2021Effective July 1st, 2022
Home-Call/Qualifying Stipend$63.80$66.30$66.34
Weekend Home-Call/Qualifying Stipend$70.18$72.93$72.97
    • Effective July 1st, 2021:  Increase mental health coverage from $500 to $1000 yearly (and includes coverage for psychotherapists) 
    • Effective July 1st, 2022:  Amend Extended Health Care Benefits to include coverage for prescribed birth control including IUDs 
    • Effective July 1st, 2022:  Amend Extended Health Care Benefits to include coverage for Breast Pumps 
    • Effective July 1st, 2022:  Increase Vision Care Coverage from $300 to $375
    • Effective July 1st, 2022:  Increase Massage Therapy Coverage from $500 to $650 yearly

Mr. Kaplan also ordered that should Bill 124 be repealed or found to be unconstitutional that he remains seized to deal with the awarding of any additional compensation over the life of this three-year deal.

Other items that we reached agreement on that became part of Mr. Kaplan’s Award include:

    • Where a resident has requested vacation, and the resident’s vacation request has been denied due to professional and patient care responsibilities, or the resident has not been offered a reasonable alternative, and as a result the resident has been unable to take their annual vacation entitlement, the resident is entitled to carry over up to two weeks’ vacation entitlement to the following year.
    • We amended the contract so that residents preparing for exams that are prerequisites for either CFPC or RCPSC certification can request that they not be scheduled for call duties for a period of up to 10 days prior to the exam. This is a step in the right direction for providing prep time for exams such as the Surgical Foundations, however this does not include exams by the Medical Council of Canada as they are not required for certification by the CFPC or the RCPSC.
    • We amended the contract to reduce the waiting period for Employment Insurance Benefits from two weeks to one week and secured the same change for Parental Leave. We also clarified that for residents who are pregnant, the calculation of the maximum number of duty periods shall not include the days a pregnant resident is relieved from call duties.

There are a few other issues that we are continuing to have productive conversations with the Hospitals about and if there are any further developments outside of the contract renewal process, I will be sure to let you know.
This was a challenging round of negotiations give the constraints that the government’s imposed cap contained in Bill 124, but I am proud of what we have achieved for our members. I want to thank the members of the Board who volunteered countless hours to participate in the negotiation process. I also want to thank our legal team and our professional staff for the expertise they brought in helping us find creative ways to utilize every cent that we were entitled to. Finally, I want to thank the members of the CAHO bargaining team for their commitment to work with us, to maximize what we could achieve within the constraints of Bill 124, as a tangible way of demonstrating their appreciation for how hard residents work.
Warm regards,
Dr. Ryan Giroux
PARO President