Current Issues

There are always a number of current issues impacting orthopaedic surgeons and their ability to deliver the best musculoskeletal care possible to Canadians. The COA tries to keep our finger on the pulse and brief members regularly on issues impacting the field, advocacy initiatives and collaborations with other organizations.

If you have a concern that you think the COA should be following or reporting on, please feel free to contact

Current issues that the COA is addressing right now include:

Proposed Incorporation Tax Reform

August 30, 2017

As the COA continues to advocate on behalf of orthopaedic surgeons regarding the proposed tax reforms to the Canadian Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC), we would like to draw your attention to the recent statement  released by the President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Dr. Granger Avery.

As Dr. Avery stated: “nothing is more effective than individual doctors talking directly to their local politicians. We have a short window to make ourselves heard, and I urge each one of you to write, call and meet with your local MP and your provincial or territorial representative (MPP, MLA, MNA, etc.). The CMA has key messages to augment your own compelling personal narrative, which highlight the consequences this will have for you and your patients.”

As the national voice of orthopaedic surgery, the COA stands united with the CMA and our colleagues throughout the country in bringing forward evidence and recommendations in opposition to the Federal Government’s proposed tax reforms affecting private corporations. The COA supports Dr. Avery and his call to action. I encourage you to take action using the following resources:

Write to your MP: I have written to my local MP. My letter is available for download HERE and can be customized (note the highlighted sections). The COA urges members to write to their respective MPs right away, as the time for consultation on this issue is very short. Click here to find your local representative.

Sign an online petition: Add your voice to an online petitions to the Government of Canada:

Educate yourself and take action using CMA resources: The CMA is working with taxation and legal experts to review and assess in detail the consultation document issued by the Department of Finance. We encourage all members to make use of the valuable resources provided by the CMA, including regular updates on advocacy, FAQ’s and media references to the tax reform proposal.

Use social media: Join the national conversation on Twitter and other social media platforms using the hashtag #TaxFairness

Meet with Parliamentarians: Members are encouraged to call or set up a meeting with your MP to discuss the proposed tax changes. We are pleased to share the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR)’s toolkit on planning a successful meeting with parliamentarians. Meeting with your MP does not have to be daunting to COA members, and it may be the best way to have our collective voice heard. The COA is grateful to the CAR for permission to share this document in the interest of time. Again, we remind members that the time to act is now, as the consultation period is brief.

Kevin Orrell, COA President

Wait Times and Access to Orthopaedic Care

Many Canadians wait too long for access to musculoskeletal care. The COA strives to promote access to timely, appropriate orthopaedic care, and therefore continues to meet with government representatives to advocate for the adoption of innovative models of care. The COA also believes that national standards for appropriate wait times are important.

To learn more, click here to access COA Continues to Advocate for Access to Orthopaedic Care’, by Dr. Peter MacDonald, COA President (COA Spring Bulletin, 2017).

Position Statement on Access to Orthopaedic Care 

Intimate Partner Violence and EDUCATE Training Program for Fracture Clinics

Research has found that one out of every six women who present to fracture clinics has experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) in the past 12 months and that one out of every 50 women attending fracture clinics is there to receive treatment for an injury that was sustained as a direct result of IPV. Because of this, the COA, the Centre for Evidence-Based Orthopaedics at McMaster University, and a team of clinician-researchers from across Canada and the United States have partnered to raise awareness about IPV victimization and provide orthopaedic surgeons and allied health care professionals (HCPs) with education on how to respond to IPV. This is being accomplished through several initiatives including a new training program called EDUCATE. The EDUCATE program is designed to empower orthopaedic surgeons and allied health care providers with the knowledge and skills required to successfully identify and assist women in fracture clinics who have been victimized by IPV. The program is currently being implemented and evaluated at select fracture clinics.  Based on the evaluation, the program will be refined and made available nationally in summer of 2018.

To learn more, click here to access ‘Intimate Partner Violence: What Canadian Orthopaedic Surgeons Need to Know!’ (COA Spring Bulletin, 2017).

Intimate Partner Violence Position Statement and Best Practice Recommendations (and IPV Resources Appendix) – 2017

EDUCATE training program in the news:

Fight against domestic violence calls on orthopedic clinics (Montreal Gazette; April 8, 2017)

Diagnosing domestic violence: N.L. surgeons learn how to spot the signs (CBC News; April 12, 2017)

Unemployed and Underemployed Orthopaedic Surgeons

Despite long wait times for patients to receive musculoskeletal care, and an aging population which will further strain the health care system, there is an unacceptably high rate of unemployment among orthopaedic graduates. This poses a serious threat to the quality of patient care and to surgeons’ personal and professional wellbeing. The ever-increasing number of graduates unable to find employment in Canada are faced with chronic locum experiences and serial fellowships, and many are turning to job opportunities abroad.

To learn more, click here to access ‘Patients Continue to Wait… and Orthopaedic Surgeons Continue to Languish in Unemployment – The Status of Orthopaedic Unemployment in Canada’ (COA Winter Bulletin, 2016).