Jason Copping

Courtesy CBC

The Alberta government and Alberta Medical Association are acting together on “high-priority healthcare system issues” prior to resuming formal negotiations, the groups said Thursday.

In a press release, Minister of Health Jason Copping and Alberta Medical Association (AMA) President Dr. Michelle Warren said the parties are one step closer to returning to the table after agreeing to move on some much-needed stabilizing actions.

The two sides are making friendly, collaborating on the pandemic, doctor compensation, and virtual care.

Getting to a deal will be aided by labour and management facilitator Rick Wilson, scheduled to start interest-based negotiations shortly.

Wilson was with Canadian Pacific for more than 30 years in various labour relation/operation roles and is listed on the Alberta Labour Board’s Umpire Registry for essential services.

Then-Health Minister Tyler Shandro said progress was being made on a new doctor’s deal last July 2021.

“Our work with the AMA continues moving forward and we’re taking action together on immediate priorities. Alberta’s government remains committed to working with physicians in a spirit of collaboration and trust. I recognize and thank all physicians for their critical role in keeping Albertans healthy. I look forward to restarting negotiations as soon as possible with the goal of achieving an agreement that defines our relationship with physicians in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Thursday’s release said the parties are working together to best manage community rapid testing for communities, patient advisement, and new recommendations on personal protective equipment requirements.

The government agreed to delay the implementation of Alberta Health Services stipends, fee reductions and AHS overhead policies in favour of “a comprehensive strategic compensation framework that delivers value for dollars spent and fairness for physicians.”

Amber Gosselin is a Western Standard reporter

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