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More Court Action should be no surprise for BC Medical Association

Vancouver BC - May 10, 2010 - Z. Essak, MD

Scales of justiceOn Friday April 30, 2010 Dr Caroline Wang filed a "Breach of Contract" claim against the BC Medical Association in BC Supreme Court.  This follows on the BC Court of Appeal decision of January 22, 2010 that set aside the November 2008 BCSC Judgment "without prejudice" and "without comment on the merits of the dispute", only suggesting that a different legal action should have been used.

Naturally one always hopes disputes can be resolved without resorting to the courts and the significant legal expense and time involved.

Unfortunately, despite the passage of more than two years the will and effort applied has not been sufficient to resolve the dispute between Dr Caroline Wang and other BCMA directors that occurred at the February 2008 Board meeting. 

Meanwhile, many of the individuals named in the legal actions remain on the Board and important committees.  Notwithstanding potential conflict of interest they continue as participants in the decision-making of the Association.

Here is a timeline of events over the past five years preceding and including the dispute and attached is the "Writ of Summons" and "Statement of Claim" filed in court by Dr Wang.

BC Court of Appeal decision puts February 2008 BCMA dispute back to square one

Vancouver, B.C.  February 7, 2010

The BC Court of Appeal decision in Wang v. British Columbia Medical Association (2010 BCCA 43) was delivered on January 29, 2010, marking almost two years from the February 1-2, 2008 BCMA Board meeting where a dispute arose that was not resolved and resulted in recourse to the courts.

The Court of Appeal decision does not provide an answer to how the dispute can be resolved while it sets aside the Judgment of the BC Supreme Court with Justice Madame Ballance presiding (2008 BCSC 1559) and "make(s) no comment on the merits of the dispute", essentially reverting the dispute back to square one leaving it up to the parties involved and the BCMA membership to determine what further actions are required.

Urgent need to revise the BC Society Act highlighted by BC Court of Appeal decision

Vancouver, B.C. February 7, 2010.

In what many will view as a technical legal ruling, the BC Court of Appeal decision (January 29, 2010) in Wang v. British Columbia Medical Association (2010 BCCA 43) highlights for the public and members of the BCMA that the BC Society Act is urgently in need of revision.

Fortunately, review of the BC Society Act is currently underway.  It was announced on December 17, 2009 and the BC Government is seeking feedback with a deadline of April 1, 2010.  Related BC Government documents state the BC Society Act has not been significantly revised since 1977 and "is outdated and in need of revision".

BCMA Transparency Hits The Wall

As the hot summer weather gives way to cooler fall temperatures reflections on the events of summer are common.

BCMA transparency was again prominent at the Wall Centre at this year's AGM on June 13, 2009.  The accuracy of the Minutes of the 2008 AGM held in Prince George was the subject that consumed much of the debate.  This may only be known to the 170 members who attended out of the BCMA membership of more than 11,000 who rely on information provided in the BCMA annual report and the BCMJ reports of the AGM.

BCMA members may recall how the 2007 AGM in Vancouver came to an abrupt end after an esteemed colleague rose to present a motion "that the General Assembly deplores board policies that would suppress, restrict or undermine open communications between directors and members" and before discussion on the motion could begin a mass exodus of the Board directors served to squash the quorum and end further debate.

BCMA members will also recall how immediately following the 2007 AGM arrangements were changed to relocate the 2008 AGM to Prince George.  But what really happened in Prince George?

BC Doctors requesting a Special General Meeting of the BCMA exceeds 90 percent

Pie chart 95 percent Over nine hundred doctors throughout BC, more than 90 percent of the threshold required, have signed the petition requesting a Special General Meeting of the BCMA to review the BCMA Board conduct and decision to appeal the BC Supreme Court Judgment in Wang v. BC Medical Association (2008 BCSC 1559) and to establish an alternative process to ensure a rapid, equitable remedy ensuring the fair and ethical treatment of all members without incurring further unnecessary legal costs.

BC Supreme Court Judgment slams BCMA Board

In a decision released November 17, 2008 the BC Supreme Court upheld a complaint by Dr. Caroline Wang, the former elected Honorary Secretary-Treasurer of the BCMA, and disbanded a "special committee" appointed by the BCMA Board in February to review Dr. Wang's conduct.

The Court noted that, “at no time has Dr. Wang or her legal counsel been notified of a complaint or an allegation that she violated any provision of the BCMA constitution, bylaws, Code of Conduct, or any common law duty of directors or officers.”

BCMA faces Judicial Review in BC Supreme Court

Vancouver Law Courts

VANCOUVER, BC - On April 10 and 11, 2008 the BC Supreme Court heard the case between Dr. Caroline Wang and the BC Medical Association. On April 7, Dr. Wang filed a petition in the court for a judicial review and a court order to dissolve the conduct review committee of the BCMA citing that she has been denied natural justice. After hearing from both sides the judge has reserved decision until later.  (Addendum: The judge reserved her decision until after May 12, 2008 and delivered a written decision in November 2008.)

Medical Post "BCMA: EMR commitment worries B.C. MDs"

Here is the link to the full text of one of two Medical Post articles referenced in a recent BCMA News Flash.

Medical Post - BCMA: EMR commitment worries B.C. MDs

Just the start:

"BCMA: EMR commitment worries B.C. MDs
July 04, 2006 | Matt Borsellino
Article from the BCMA's annual meeting
Patient confidentiality and vendor competition cited as ‘huge concerns’

"The More Things Change..." - Dr. John O'Brien-Bell

Dr. John O'Brien-Bell, GP and BCMA President 1986-87.

"The bottom line was the determination ... to harness the power of the grassroots."

Video highlight from June 3, 2006 Forum for Physicians, Vancouver.

"The More Things Change ... "
Dr. John O'Brien-Bell, GP and BCMA President 1986-87

The More Things Change, Dr John O'Brien-Bell video link

"Deja Vu" - Dr Norman Rigby

Dr. Norman Rigby, Retired GP and Former Executive Director BCMA.

"The best thing we had going for us was the District 6 Newsletter."

"It excited the attention of the membership."

"What really changed things was when ... the administrator became the President of the hospital, ... and governments started to deal with the President not the Board."

Video highlight from June 3, 2006 Forum for Physicians, Vancouver.

"Deja Vu"
Dr. Norman Rigby, Retired GP and Former Executive Director BCMA.

Deja Vu, Dr Norman Rigby link to video

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