The Collège des médecins du Québec and other Associations of Physicians

Other Associations of Physicians

Under review

Other Associations of Physicians For a very long time, there have been voluntary associations of physicians pursuing three broad objectives:

  • scientific: maintaining and promoting the quality of professional practice;
  • union-based: defending the rights and working conditions of members;
  • social: offering services of assistance and support to their members and promoting certain causes.

On the scientific level, various agencies, such as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) for specialists, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), including its Québec chapter, the Collège québécois des médecins de famille (CQMF) for family physicians, ensure that the competence of their members isstandardized and recognized. They also, in their respective fields, take part in the certification of training programs offered throughout the country. There are also groups in Québec which, in addition to having a  scientific purpose, offer support to their members; among these are the Association des médecins de langue française du Canada (AMLFC), the Association of Councils of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists of Québec (APDPQ), and the Québec Medical Association (QMA), which is the Québec chapter of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

On the union level, general practitioners were the first to create regional associations that would come together and form the  Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ). The FMOQ now has 17 regional associations and two provincial associations—the Association des médecins œuvrant en établissements psychiatriques and the Association des médecins de CLSC.

As for medical specialists, they subsequently formed provincial associations that brought together physicians in the same specialty. These associations together form the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ). The physicians in training followed suit and created the Fédération des médecins résidents et internes du Québec (FMRIQ), which later became the Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec (FMRQ). As soon as they were formed, the medical student associations in each of the four faculties of medicine in Québec came together to create the Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec (FMEQ).

The federations of physicians play a key role in the organization of medicine in Québec by negotiating agreements with government authorities. Indeed, the FMOQ and FMSQ have been recognized as organizations representing physicians and, as such, they negotiate payment methods and pay scales for physicians. In realizing their mandate, they also have an influence on the conditions of medical practice. The federations have done much to enhance the professional  status of their members, in particular through their sustained involvement in continuing professional development activities. Québec physicians are not obliged to belong to a union association. However, under the Rand formula, they are obliged to pay an assessment, which is deducted at source by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.

On the level of assistance and support for physicians, the medical federations also provide services to their members, such as investment funds and insurance plans. The Canadian Medical Protective Association acts as a mutual professional liability insurance company, covering most physicians in Canada.

The existence of medical associations also made it possible to establish the Programme d’aide aux médecins du Québec (PAMQ, Québec Physicians Health Program) in 1990. Devised for physicians in difficulty, the program is the result of a joint initiative of the AMLFC, the Collège des médecins, and the medical federations. Its mission is to assist physicians who have personal problems or suffer from a mental illness or from dependence. It does so by assessing each situation and directing the persons concerned to the appropriate resource. A growing number of medical students, medical residents, specialists and family practitioners are benefiting from this program. It is important to distinguish this program, aimed at helping physicians in difficulty, from the administrative monitoring program operated by the Practice Enhancement Division of the Collège, whose aim is first and foremost to protect the public by way of risk management as it pertains to fitness to practice medicine.