The statement of defence, filed today in the Court of Queen’s Bench, outlines that government implemented a new physician funding framework only after engaging in good faith, meaningful negotiations and consultation.
“Alberta’s economy has been devastated over the past five years and our budget has faced shortfalls as a result. Our goal throughout negotiations was to simply hold the line on cost overruns while maintaining spending at the highest level ever. Alberta’s negotiators worked hard and in good faith to arrive at an acceptable agreement that would still ensure that Alberta’s doctors would be the highest-paid physicians in all of Canada. We believe this claim is groundless and we look forward to a timely resolution.”
The statement of defence makes clear the following facts:
- The AMA was not prepared for negotiations and did not table any proposals until well into the process.
- Alberta Health responded to each proposal once they were presented and offered amendments to accommodate the AMA’s interests.
- Following mediation, the parties agreed that negotiations were at an impasse.
- Government chose to use the clause in the agreement that allowed for the agreement to be ended by either party.
- The AMA agreed to include this clause in the agreement and was fully aware of government’s ability to exercise it.
- Physicians are not employees of the ministry.
The full statement of defence is available at alberta.ca.