Mandate & Guiding Principles
The General Assembly will set policy priorities and generate recommendations to address the opportunities and challenges facing the profession.
The General Assembly will collaborate across constituencies and demonstrate that the OMA is united, future-focused, and outcome-driven as an essential resource to the Board of Directors in its decision-making. The General Assembly is responsible for making recommendations for the Board to consider that:
- Are based on available evidence and best practices
- Incorporate appropriate input from OMA Constituency Group Elected Leadership and/or members
- Engaging members in developing sound policies on professional issues, advocacy and compensation
- Strengthening the reputation of the OMA among its members and stakeholders
- Community-building across constituencies
- Leadership development
- Ensuring ongoing evaluation regarding the performance of the General Assembly
- The GA supports the vision and mission of the OMA
- The GA promotes understanding and cooperation among its constituencies
- The GA reflects the diversity of the profession
- The work and procedures of the GA are transparent to its members
- The GA encourages innovative thinking
- The GA promotes fairness and consensus-building
- The GA contributes to an easily understood OMA governance system
- The GA contributes to an effective OMA governance system where roles and accountability are clearly delineated
Guiding Solution Generation
The General Assembly is a diverse body that advocates for the well-being and interest of the profession as a top priority. It facilitates strategic and forward-looking solutions to guide and inform the decisions of the Board of Directors. It identifies opportunities to positively influence Ontario’s health care system. The General Assembly provides multiple opportunities for physician leadership, member engagement, and networking. Collectively, it is the responsibility of the General Assembly to:
Identify strategic and priority issues through an annual priority-setting conference including:
- Setting priorities for physician issues and health care policy
- Setting priorities for advocacy and compensation issues
- Supporting the OMA strategic planning process
Support the development of recommendations addressing OMA health policy and professional priorities, compensation priorities, and physician advocacy priorities through the efforts of Panels and Working Groups
Provide Opportunities for Physician Networking, Leadership, and Knowledge Sharing
- Hold a meeting at least once a year that includes leadership development, learning, and networking opportunities
- Implement new communication tools and processes for ongoing member engagement
- The General Assembly is made up of Networks, the Priority and Leadership Group, the General Assembly Steering Committee, Panels and Working Groups. Together, these entities will help deliver on the overarching Mandate and Guiding Principles of the General Assembly with clearly defined goals, objectives and activities
- Skills-based Working Groups, made up of OMA members, are engaged to deliver on the General Assembly identified priorities
- The General Assembly is made up of members beyond the traditional elected delegate model currently in use at Council
Sections, Fora, Districts & Elected Constituency Leadership
Elected Constituency Leadership includes any position that is recruited through an OMA election or by-election or appointment processes as allowed for in rules & regulations.
This leadership group is critical to the success of the General Assembly. Priority and Leadership Group Delegates and Panel members must hold an elected constituency leadership position to be eligible. Constituency groups will also appoint Priority and Leadership Group Delegates from their elected leadership, these appointments are finalized by the Networks.
The Role of Constituency Group Elected Leaders in the New General Assembly Model
Priority and Leadership Group
- Meet a minimum of twice a year
- Total of 125 appointed Delegates from the Sections, Districts and Fora
- Identify and recommend priorities to the Board that the panels and working groups will address
- Promote and participate in leadership development, learning and networking
- Active participants in the organization’s strategic planning process
The Priority and Leadership Group will include knowledgeable and committed Delegates who understand and represent the interests of their Constituency Groups as well as the larger community of physicians. Delegates will come from Elected Leadership from all Sections, Districts, and Fora. They will represent diversity in the type of medical practice, leadership experience, region, gender, and other diversity characteristics.
Delegates will be strong advocates who understand the challenges of their constituencies and are able to interpret these within the overall physician and health system sphere. Delegates will support the GA in working towards policies and solutions that support a united and respected profession. As a member of a Constituency Group Elected Leadership, Delegates will consistently solicit feedback from members within their constituency, while acting as their information resource, and bringing the issues emerging from their constituency to the Priority and Leadership Group. More specifically, Delegates will:
- Uphold the OMA Values, Vision and Mission, and the Mandate and Guiding Principles of the General Assembly
- Understand and support the development of the desired General Assembly culture of agility, unity, cooperation and teamwork
- Be in good standing with the OMA and eligible to hold office as per the OMA By-laws
- Act in good faith and demonstrate loyalty to the OMA and its membership
- Consistently be guided by high integrity and ethics when carrying out Delegate responsibilities
- Act as a champion and an advocate for physicians
- Accept accountability, jointly with the rest of the General Assembly, for the performance of the General Assembly
- Be available to regularly attend meetings virtually and in person as required, and be prepared by reviewing materials in advance of meetings
- Exercise vigilance for and declare any apparent or real personal conflict of interest in accordance with OMA Governance policies
- Uphold confidentiality of all information deemed confidential and ensure there is no disclosure through any means, including social media
The Role of the Priority and Leadership Group in the New General Assembly Model
General Assembly Panels
Three General Assembly Panels — Issues & Policy, Compensation, and Advocacy — will oversee the generation of recommendations. Working Groups, with the support of staff, will develop recommendations for the Panels that are credible, based on available evidence and best practices, and incorporate appropriate input from affected constituencies, members, and stakeholders. If deemed acceptable, the recommendations will move forward to the Board and guide its decision making. The Panels will review these recommendations to ensure they meet all criteria for approval and advance the validated recommendations to the Board. If, in exceptional circumstances, the Board of Directors rejects the recommendation of the Working Groups, disclosure on the reasoning for the decision will be provided unless the information is deemed confidential.
The Role of Panels in the New General Assembly Model
General Assembly Working Groups
General Assembly Panels will establish a series of Working Groups that will work closely with OMA staff to tackle professional issues, deal with matters related to fair compensation, and address governmental, public, and stakeholder relations issues. Working Groups will develop recommendations that are credible, based on available evidence and best practices, and incorporate appropriate input from affected constituencies, members, and stakeholders. These recommendations will then be reviewed by the appropriate Panel. If the Panel agrees that a recommendation meets all the required criteria, Working Groups will present recommendations to the Board to guide its decision-making.
Working Groups will be comprised of skilled members who can bring their diverse backgrounds, knowledge, and expertise to solve issues within their mandate. The OMA’s Nominations and Appointments Committee will support the Working Group candidate recruitment. General members or appointed Delegates are eligible to be appointed to Working Groups. Not every member of a Working Group needs to be an expert.
The Role of Working Groups in the New General Assembly Model
General Assembly Steering Committee (GASC)
The General Assembly Steering Committee (GASC) is an oversight committee that will ensure the effective functioning and performance of the General Assembly, including adherence to OMA governance policies. The GASC will ensure that the work being conducted by the GA is consistent with its mandate, scope, and the overall values, vision and mission of the OMA, and will ensure that the work of the Priority and Leadership Group, its Panels and Working Groups, remains high integrity, solution focused and is based on available evidence and best practices. The GASC will liaise with the OMA Board of Directors and the Governance and Nominating Committee.
GASC will develop and implement a performance-management system, with the support of staff, that includes annual assessments of the performance of the General Assembly as a whole, its components, and its Delegates.
The GASC will be comprised of five members, including a Chair, Vice-Chair, and three Representatives elected by the General Assembly. The Chair and Vice-Chair positions are open to any member with the required skills. These positions are elected by the Priority and Leadership Group. The remaining three GASC members will be elected from within the Priority and Leadership Group Delegate pool.
The Role of the General Assembly Steering Committee in the New General Assembly Model
New OMA Networks
OMA Sections have been assigned to Assemblies for the past number of years. The purpose of the Assemblies was initially to nominate the Assembly Directors in order to ensure that Board Directors included at least one or two Directors from each of the four major groups of Sections. Now that the Directors will be elected by the general membership, it is proposed that the Assembly concept be sunset.
Earlier consultations with members made clear that some Sections felt that they were “overpowered” by larger sections. Grouping Sections into “Networks” would help smaller Sections (with similar training and experience) work together to ensure that common views are expressed. Networks would stimulate collaboration, support, and teamwork.
There will be six Networks: Four will consist of Sections that include Primary Care, Medical, Surgical and Diagnostic. One will be a Regional Network made up of Districts and the Rural Forum; and one will be an Academic Network consisting of Academic Forum members, residents, and students.
The Role of Networks in the New General Assembly Model
General Assembly Networks are staff supported, collaboration forums that act as knowledge-sharing and problem-solving communities of support.
Each Network will:
- Create a diverse and skilled slate of Delegates to represent their Network at the General Assembly
- Provide a forum for Constituency Groups with similar interests to collaborate in identifying, prioritizing and resolving common issues
- Facilitate the sharing of resources, particularly across smaller Constituency Groups, to assist them with their ability to respond to requests for input from the Association
- Provide a forum for smaller Constituency Groups to work together to ensure that their common views are expressed
- Advocate to protect and promote the best interests of the profession
- Stimulate collaboration, support, and teamwork on an on-going basis
- Monitor progress in achieving the Network’s goals and participate in a self-assessment of the Network as requested by staff
Priority and Leadership Group Delegate Allocation
In this video, Governance Transformation Co-Chair, Dr. Paul Hacker, explains the allocation of delegates to the Priority and Leadership Group, the most strategically focused body within the new OMA structure.
Delegate Composition: The Priority and Leadership Group
There will be 125 Priority and Leadership Group Delegates. The goals of collaboration, representation, and diversity require that Delegates to the Priority and Leadership Group reflect the broad diversity of the profession as a whole. Ensuring that this happens is much more complicated than simply assigning Delegate positions to constituencies
The OMA is made up of 49 Sections, 2 Fora, 11 Districts, 12 Medical Interest Groups and more than 75 Branch Societies. The Sections range from containing 0.1% to 33% of the members. All of these have diversity in geography and practice settings. Large Sections contain a wide diversity of practice models and include a number of physicians who focus their practice more narrowly or change the scope of their practice over time.
Districts will appoint a uniform number of Delegates to the Priority and Leadership Group in order to ensure that geographic representation is the primary role for about 20% of the General Assembly. Similar considerations impact Fora, and therefore these bodies will also send a uniform number of Delegates.
- 11 Districts: 2 delegates per District = 22 Total Priority and Leadership Group
- 2 Fora (Academic and Rural): 3 Delegates per Forum = 6 Total Priority and Leadership Group
It is proposed that the General Assembly invest in its future by ensuring that two residents and one student attend the General Assembly as Delegates.
In order to assign Delegate positions to the various Sections and Networks, the most recent membership data was used. All members will declare a primary Section. Apart from direct proportionality, the General Assembly Guiding Principles were used to adjust these numbers in two ways:
- In the case of Sections which would be allocated less than a full Delegate through a standard proportionality calculation, one Delegate has been assigned.
- In the case of SGFP, a number of considerations were taken into account:
- Representation should be balanced in order to address the concerns of some Sections which felt that their insights might carry less weight or garner less attention than those of a very large group of SGFP Delegates.
- However, it was also recognized that there is a very large spectrum of specialty focus and training within SGFP, and it is important to ensure that the diversity of their membership is adequately represented in the General Assembly. In addition, there are also many members of SGFP who provide overlapping scope of practice with other non-SGFP primary care sections (i.e. members who practice Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine/Palliative Care, etc.).
For the reasons above, it was felt that neither the “uniform” nor “proportional” models were appropriate for SGFP so a hybrid model is proposed where 20 Delegates are allocated to SGFP and 7 Delegates to non-SGFP primary care sections for a total of 27 Delegates for the Primary Care Network.
Diversity at the General Assembly
Constituency Groups will make a concerted effort in member outreach to encourage a broad diversity of individuals to engage and become involved in OMA activities. Barriers to member participation will be reviewed and addressed. The goal will be to have diverse delegates within each Network who can make a strong contribution to the General Assembly. Networks and Constituency Groups will be invited to refer to a skills-and-diversity matrix that will assist them in reviewing the types of diversity including and not limited to urban, rural, and northern practice, length of practice, gender, types of practice, academia, race, and ethnicity, and diversity of perspective.
Active and Effective Constituency Groups
Elected Constituency Leadership Group includes any position that is recruited through an OMA election, by-election or appointment processes as allowed for in rules & regulations for representative positions within a particular constituency.
This leadership group is critical to the success of the General Assembly. Priority and Leadership Group Delegates and Panel members must hold an elected constituency leadership position to be eligible. Constituency groups will also appoint Priority and Leadership Group Delegates from their elected leadership, these appointments are finalized by the Panels.
These individuals participate in the communication with their appointed PLG delegate(s) and with other constituency groups through networks.
If elected to a specific position, (e.g. District Executive), the role of Constituency Group Elected Leader is in addition to the responsibilities of the specific position that they were elected to by the constituency membership.
Working with constituency groups, a thorough and formal review will be conducted to ensure that constituencies have the right supports in place including a leadership make-up that will support them under the new governance structure. Until that review is completed, the OMA will operate under the existing structures allowing for a smooth transition to the General Assembly.
The core role and purpose of the various constituency groups remain unchanged.
- Work with local physicians, health care providers/organizations and government to ensure physicians have a voice and are influencing local decisions in the best interests of their patients and communities.
- Bring together Branch Societies to foster engagement and deal with common issues
- All members belong to a District based on their practice address
- Work with other specialties, health care providers/organizations, and government to influence decisions in the best interests of their members
- Provide a means to share information within the clinical, practice-type, or specialty interest-oriented groups of physician members.
- Bring the specialty’s perspective to the business of the Association.
- Members will choose or be assigned a primary section, members also have the option of participating in other sections as a secondary member
- The Academic Medicine Forum (AMF) enhances the engagement of academic physicians belonging to the OMA.
- Rural Medicine Forum strives for and promotes equitable health care for rural physicians and patients and conveys the opinions of both generalist and specialist physicians practicing in rural communities
Medical Interest Groups (MIG)
- MIGs enable OMA Members, irrespective of their specialty or geographic location, to communicate and exchange viewpoints on specific issues, including time-limited issues, and to present their opinion, where required, to relevant OMA committees, Board, etc.
- MIGs are established with a common interest or specific goal that in not within the purview of an existing section, forum, expert panel or function of the OMA.
The success of the General Assembly is directly tied to the strength of the OMA Constituency Groups and their Networks. Several Constituency Groups remain well organized with strong Elected Leadership and engaged members. Other Constituency Groups will require extra support from the OMA to engage their members and to elect an adequate number of Leaders. OMA staff will need to provide essential supports, including: setting strategy; identifying qualified and interested candidates for the Elected Leadership; onboarding for new leaders; training related to how the OMA is organized; information sessions on the roles and responsibilities of the Board and General Assembly; and general administrative support.
Constituency Group Elected Leader Position Description (Draft)
(This draft position description reflects initial thinking and is in response to member queries during pre-Council consultation sessions)
- Elected by members of a specific constituency
- Expected to learn about and understand the issues that members feel are most important with respect to their constituency
- Participate in meetings of the leadership to develop annual goals and work plans, produce communications for members, and assist the constituency with other necessary work
- Share in the work required to deliver on annual goals
- Consider requesting nomination to the Priority and Leadership Group (PLG) and Panels
- Participate in choosing the constituency nominees to the PLG
- Promote the involvement of members in Working Groups and other committees
Sections, Assemblies, Districts, Branch Societies, Territorial Divisions, Fora, and MIGs — Review Process
The OMA has a diverse makeup, with many participating groups, each bringing its own unique and valuable perspective. Diversity of member experience and insight is vital to the effective functioning of the OMA. In keeping with the consultative and collaborative process for governance transformation, a detailed review of Sections, Assemblies, Districts, Branch Societies, Territorial Divisions, MIGs and Fora will take place within 2 years of the establishment of the new General Assembly. This review will examine the purpose and mandate for some groups and identify opportunities to streamline and enhance how input is best enabled in the new model. It is essential that all groups in the future structure be effectively staffed/supported to achieve the strategic goals of the OMA