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Joint Statement from the Canadian Medical Forum on Pandemic Pay for Resident Doctors as Essential Frontline Workers

The Canadian Medical Forum (CMF) brings together leaders of Canada’s major national medical organizations to discuss issues of priority to physicians, their patients, and the Canadian healthcare system. We are writing today on behalf of the undersigned members of the Canadian medical forum, in support of the 14,000 resident doctors working on the frontline of our healthcare system from coast to coast.

In some jurisdictions, provinces are implementing policies to provide ‘pandemic pay’ to essential frontline workers. Resident doctors are either not being included in the list of essential frontline workers eligible for this benefit or are being treated differently such that they do not receive the full benefit. It is profoundly demoralizing for these young doctors not to be treated in the same manner as all other essential frontline healthcare team members and it is imperative that the extremely valuable work that resident doctors provide in caring for patients, be acknowledged.

The CMF and its members urge those provincial and territorial governments and all Ministries of Health that are providing pandemic pay, to collectively acknowledge our most junior doctors who are working so hard in our hospitals, communities and long term care institutions, caring for patients, and:

  • Include resident doctors on the list of professionals eligible for pandemic pay at the frontlines of COVID-19 and in any future initiatives aimed at supporting essential frontline workers.

Residents Doctors are:

  • Fully qualified medical doctors who are in 2-7 year training programs to become certified specialists by either the College of Family Physicians of Canada or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
  • Healthcare employees who are often the only doctors overnight and on weekends in the hospitals where they work, and/ or are on call for community practice and long term care.
  • Working over 80 hours per week to care for their patients with many resident doctors redeployed to provide care to COVID patients since March 12.

While the Canadian Medical Forum does not set or seek to set standards of care, we do, however, strive to inform Canada’s leaders when actions are needed to positively impact physicians, their patients, and the Canadian healthcare system. The response of federal, provincial and territorial governments and health agencies to the COVID-19 crisis has been admirable. We commend these organizations for working to ensure health professionals have the information, tools, and resources they need to identify, report and manage potential and confirmed cases of COVID-19. The cooperation of the various organizations is a testament to their commitment to deliver safe medical care for Canadians and help mitigate the consequences of the current pandemic.

We call on those governments providing pandemic pay to include resident doctors on the list of professionals eligible for pandemic pay at the frontlines of COVID-19 and in any future initiatives aimed at supporting essential frontline workers.

Respectfully,

Cecil Rorabek, O.C., MD
Chair, Canadian Medical Forum

Geneviève Moineau, MD, FRCPC
President and CEO
Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada

David Anderson, MD, FRCPC, FACP
Dean, Dalhousie University
Chair, AFMC Board of Directors

Victor Do,
President
Canadian Federation of Medical Students
2019-2020

Sandy Buchman, MD CCFP (PC) FCFP
President,
Canadian Medical Association

Francine Lemire, MD CM, CCFP, FCFP, CAE
Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer
College of Family Physicians of Canada

Shirley Schipper, MD, CCFP, FCFP
President
College of Family Physicians of Canada

Maxime Morin-Lavoie
Président
Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec

Emily Stewart, MD
President
Resident Doctors of Canada

Maureen Topps, MB ChB, FCFP, MBA, FRCPC (Hon)
Executive Director & CEO
Medical Council of Canada

Jay Rosenfield, MD, MEd, FRCPC
President
Medical Council of Canada

Susan Moffat-Bruce, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS, FRCSC
Chief Executive Officer
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

M. Ian Bowmer, MDCM, FRCPC, FRCP, FCAHS President
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Margaret Tromp, MD, CCFP, FCFP, FRRMS
President
Society of Rural Physicians of Canada

Paul-Émile Cloutier
President and CEO
HealthCareCAN