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Canadian Medical Association

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is a national, voluntary association of physicians that advocates on behalf of its members and the public for access to high-quality health care and provides leadership and guidance to physicians. The CMA also takes the lead on public health issues. The CMA aims to ensure the survival and robust health of Canada's medicare system in the face of numerous challenges. The CMA is a Canadian civilian organization with the Royal Patronage of Queen Elizabeth II. The Canadian Medical Association Journal (often abbreviated as CMAJ), the CMA's official publication, is a peer-reviewed general medical journal that publishes original clinical research, commentaries, analyses, and reviews of clinical topics, health news, clinical-practice updates, and editorials.

Canadian Medical Association
Abbreviation CMA
Formation 1867
Type Organizations based in Canada with royal patronage
Legal status active
Purpose advocate and public voice, educator and network
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Region served
more than 80,000 doctors
Official language
English, French
Dr. Laurent Marcoux
Website CMA

The CMA was a member of the World Medical Association until October 2018 when a resignation notice was filed.



The CMA has over 80,000 members,[1] making it the largest association of medical doctors in Canada. The CMA's first priority is to address the needs of Canadian physicians from medical school through residency, medical practice, and retirement. CMA members can access a wide range of services and benefits, including but not limited to clinical resources and wealth management .


The Canadian Medical Association was founded in 1867, about 100 days after confederation. The first president was Sir Charles Tupper, who later became Prime Minister of Canada. The foundation of the CMA was strongly rooted in its Scottish origins as the first three presidents of the CMA graduated from the Edinburgh Medical School.

The CMA also played a central role in the creation of the Registered Retirement Savings Plan in 1957.[2] Today, its financial arm, MD Financial Management, administers more than $40 billion for CMA members and their families.

During the World Medical Association General Assembly in Reykjavik in early October, members of the CMA stated that parts of the speech by WMA's incoming president Leonid Eidelman had been plagiarized from a speech made in 2014 by Chris Simpson (cardiologist) who was then the president of CMA. Current president Dr. Gigi Osler told the group that part of the address was "copied word for word" from Simpson's speech. "Multiple other parts of the speech were also copied from various websites, blogs and news articles, without proper appropriate attribution to the authors", she latter added in a statement. A motion by Canada at the Assembly to call on Eidelman to resign was not successful.[3] On 6 October, the CMA resigned; their press release stated that the decision was made because WMA was not upholding ethical standards.[4]

In an email to The Canadian Press, WMA spokesman Nigel Duncan said that Eidelman’s speech had been written by others and that he did not know that it might contain plagiarism. [5] A WMA source also told The Canadian Press that Eidelman apologized at the general assembly, after the Canadian delegates had departed; he "acknowledge[d] that part of his speech was taken from Simpson", and most delegates "accepted his apology" for the mistake.[6][7]

Advocacy and awareness campaignsEdit

Focus areas include decision-making, consent, privacy, confidentiality, research and physician responsibilities.

Health care transformation in CanadaEdit

The CMA and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) put forward principles to guide the transformation of the health care system in Canada.[8] The CMA and CNA want health care that is sustainable and adequately resourced, so that it can provide universal access to quality, patient-centred care delivered along the full continuum of care in a timely and cost-effective manner. Approximately 130 partners [9] have signed on to the principles so far.

As part of the Health Care Transformation in Canada initiative, the CMA hosted a series of town hall in cities across Canada and online to hear from Canadians. The 2011 series focused on the future of health care system [10] The 2013 dialogue focused on the impact of the social determinants of health such as income, early childhood development, housing and access to healthy food. The 2014 dialogue focused on end-of-life care issues in Canada.

End-of-life careEdit

Over the winter and spring 2014, a total of 11 town hall meetings and a live chat were held across Canada with CMA members and the public. An online dialogue for members was also conducted with more than 1,200 CMA members registering.

The CMA's report End-of-life care: A national dialogue[11] makes a number of conclusions based on the consultations, including:

  • All Canadians should to discuss end-of-life wishes with their families or other loved ones.
  • Advance care directives should be prepared by all Canadians that are appropriate and binding for the jurisdiction where they live.
  • A national palliative care strategy is needed.
  • All Canadians should have access to appropriate palliative care services.
  • More education about palliative care approaches and services and knowledge about advance care directives is required for medical students, residents and practicing physicians.
  • If the law in Canada is changed to allow euthanasia or physician-assisted dying, strict protocols and safeguards are required to protect vulnerable individuals and populations.

Choosing Wisely CanadaEdit

Choosing Wisely Canada is a campaign launched by Dr. Wendy Levinson in partnership with the CMA to help physicians and patients engage in healthy conversations about unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures, and to help physicians and patients make smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality care.[12] Central to the campaign are lists of "Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question" developed by more than forty-five Canadian specialty societies . These lists are intended to encourage physicians to adopt a "think twice" attitude to avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful tests and procedures, and to foster discussions between patients and physicians about inappropriate care.[13] The campaign also uses patient-friendly education materials to complement these lists, as well as teaches medical trainees about resource stewardship. As of June 2, 2015, 151 physician recommendations and 26 lay language patient educational materials have been released.[14]

In a report of an external advisory panel on healthcare innovation to the health ministry published in July 2015, experts saluted Choosing Wisely Canada "as an innovative physician-led and patient-centered approach that has the potential to shift healthcare away from a culture of consumption to a focus on appropriateness and quality of care". Furthermore, the panel urged "governments to support the implementation of [Choosing Wisely Canada] in all jurisdictions and to carefully evaluate its impact".[15]

Innovating for Patients campaignEdit

In 2012, the CMA launched the Innovating for Patients[16] campaign to highlight physicians across Canada who are innovating to better meet the needs of their patients. The campaign is part of the CMA's Health Care Transformation in Canada[17] initiative.

Public healthEdit

The CMA offers expertise in population and public health policy. One of the CMA's founding principles in 1867 was to "improve public health and prevent disease and disability." The CMA develops public health policies to:

  • advocate for the health of Canadians
  • protect and promote health
  • prevent illness and disease


The CMA is involved in pharmaceutical issues through policy development, submissions to government, educational initiatives and interactions with health care providers and consumer groups. The CMA says prescription drugs are a vital part of Canadian health care, and that Canadians should have access to medically necessary pharmaceuticals that are:

  • safe and effective
  • available when and where they are needed
  • available at reasonable cost[citation needed]

Wait times and benchmarksEdit

The CMA continues to work with other national medical organizations to lobby for implementation of wait-time commitments made by the first ministers in 2004 and to have new specialty areas added. The CMA supports the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and its annual Taming of the Queue[18] conferences. The CMA is also a cofounder of the Wait Time Alliance.[19]

Referrals and consultationEdit

The CMA is working to improve the referral and consultation process between physicians to facilitate timely access to specialty care. The CMA referral and consultation process toolbox showcases successes and illustrates lessons learned. The tools describe different approaches to addressing challenges related to referrals and consultations. These challenges include improving communications between physicians and coordinating referrals. The toolbox is designed for individual doctors. The toolbox was made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada.

Provincial and territorial medical AssociationsEdit

Affiliates, associated societies and observer organizationsEdit

Several national specialty and special-interest physician organizations are affiliated or associated with the CMA. These special relationships respect each organization's autonomy while recognizing the goal of speaking with a common voice for greater issues that affect all physicians.

Through affiliation, association and membership on the Specialist Forum, these organizations can represent their members' interests within the CMA and contribute to the development of physician advocacy and health advocacy policies at the national level.

Corporate structureEdit

The Board of directors is the executive authority of the CMA. The Board is responsible for managing CMA affairs in accordance with the policies established by the CMA General Council. General Council is the governing body and legislative authority of the CMA. It's responsible for providing high-level policy guidance and direction to the organization in general, and the board of directors in particular. It provides broad policy direction to the CMA via the debate, discussion and passage of motions at General Council.

The CMA's Annual Meeting includes a business session, open to all members, that considers business and matters referred by General Council. The General Council includes scientific and educational sessions designed to promote the medical and related arts.

CMA companiesEdit

Logo of MD Financial Management, a subsidiary of the Canadian Medical Association

The CMA has two subsidiaries: MD Financial Management and Joule.

MD Financial Management is a wealth management firm wholly owned by the CMA. MD helps clients build wealth and capitalize on opportunities that ensure they meet their personal and professional goals. MD Financial Management includes MD Financial Management Inc., MD Management Limited, MD Private Trust Company, MD Life Insurance Company and MD Insurance Agency Limited.

Joule was created on September 1, 2014. This subsidiary delivers information and knowledge products and services.Joule includes the Canadian Medical Association Journal and PMI physician leadership courses. It also includes clinical tools such as DynaMed, RxTx and POEMs.

CMA awardsEdit

Each year the Canadian Medical Association invites nominations for CMA awards. The nomination deadline is November 30. Recipients are notified in March. Awards are presented at the CMA Annual Meeting in late August.

  • Medal of Honour
  • Medal of Service
  • May Cohen Award for Women Mentors
  • Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action
  • F.N.G. Starr Award
  • Award for Excellence in Health Promotion
  • Awards for Young Leaders
  • Dr. William Marsden Award in Medical Ethics
  • Physician Misericordia Award
  • John McCrae Memorial Medal

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "CMA mission and vision".
  2. ^ "Investment Executive".
  3. ^ "Canadian Medical Association resigns from world body". CBC Radio International. 6 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Canadian Medical Association (CMA) resigns from the World Medical Association (WMA)". CMA. 6 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Canadian Medical Association resigns from world body". CBC Radio International. 6 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Canadian Medical Association resigns from world body, accuses incoming president of plagiarizing inaugural speech". National Post. 6 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Canadian doctors quit World Medical Association over plagiarism allegations". Globe and Mail. 7 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Principles to Guide Health Care Transformation in Canada" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Health Care Transformation Partners".
  10. ^ "CMA 14th Annual National Report Card on Health Care" (PDF).
  11. ^ "End-of-life care: A national dialogue" (PDF).
  12. ^ Levinson W, Huynh T. Engaging physicians and patients in conversations about unnecessary tests and procedures: Choosing Wisely Canada. CMAJ. 2014 Mar 18;186(5):325-6.
  13. ^ Levinson W, Kallewaard M, Bhatia RS, Wolfson D, Shortt S, Kerr EA; Choosing Wisely International Working Group. 'Choosing Wisely': a growing international campaign. BMJ Qual Saf. 2015 Feb;24(2):167-74
  14. ^ Vogel, L. More Hospitals Choose Wisely.CMAJ June 8, 2015 cmaj.109-5078
  15. ^ "Report of the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation: "Unleashing Innovation: Excellent Healthcare for Canada"" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Health Care Transformation - Innovating for Patients".
  17. ^ "Health Care Transformation".
  18. ^ "Taming of the Queue 2015".
  19. ^ "Time to Close the Gap: Report Card on Wait Times in Canada (2014)".