- Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

Following the Owen Sound city council meeting of March 29th, we at the Owen Sound Hub researched the facts that Dr. Arra presented, including the one about the doctors' remuneration at the Family Health Team that was questioned in a roundtable on CFOS a few days later.

The following week, we obtained a letter signed by five board members of the Owen Sound Family Health Organization (OSFHO). It was addressed to The Corporation of the City of Owen Sound and each member of Owen Sound City Council.

It supported some of the research we had done for our article of April 6. We confirmed it with several sources and prepared it for publication. Then we started asking for comment.

The day before the April 19 city council meeting, the Chair of the board of the OSFHO wrote a second letter to city council members, asking to “retract” the first. No details are given; no specific facts clarified or changed.

The first letter from the OSFHO Board, copied below, had already been received by all members of our Owen Sound city council, including Deputy Mayor Brian O'Leary who sits on the Grey Bruce Board of Health. The clarifying facts it gives about doctors' remuneration were provided only to them.

We asked Dr. Arra to provide those clarifications for the public, because video of his delegation to council remains on the City's website as a record of that meeting and his statements.

Dr. Arra's response, in full:  “I have spoken to my colleague at the Owen Sound Family Health Team Organization on this matter. They have retracted the letter and we are both happy to move past this incident to focus on the needs of our patients in the community.”

Our responsibility at the Owen Sound Hub is to the public interest. The public have been left with some very misleading ideas about the remuneration of those physicians who look after them and their vulnerable family members. That misinformation became part of the public record on March 29, and remains online and visible to the public. The OSFHO retraction, after the letter had been read by all council members, did nothing to change the public record or perception.

We had hoped that Dr. Arra would be providing a correction of that.  In its absence, after holding the letter for twelve days as we sought confirmation of the facts from those involved without having to publish the letter , we have chosen to provide it to the public here.


As citizens and medical professionals living in the Grey and Bruce counties, we have significant concerns with regard to the Grey Bruce Public Health Unit (GBPHU). We support our municipal and provincial elected representatives to address these concerns in a diligent, honest, and transparent manner.

The physicians of the Owen Sound Family Health Team Organizations (OSFHO) are particularly distressed with regard to false information that was presented by Dr. Arra, Medical Officer of Health (MOH), when he and Mayor Patterson (board chair of GBPHU) attended a recent Owen Sound council meeting. As this is now in the public record, we request that this correspondence be recorded and presented at the next council meeting to refute these statements and clearly represent our work and remuneration.

We will be concise and only address those issues that pertain to our physician group and will not opine upon Dr. Arra’s motivation.

Dr. Arra claimed that he could work a locum in our organization and make what we would consider to be an exorbitant amount of income for a weekend locum ($10,000). Any locum covering a practice of the OSFHO gets paid an hourly rate of $120 which is funded by the physician for whom the locum is employed. This is strictly for hours worked when another physician is away (illness, parental leave, vacation). There is no other compensation for coverage. We do not ever have physicians provide weekend locum coverage. We have not ever approached Dr. Arra to provide this service and furthermore, it is important to note that Dr. Arra could not in fact work as a locum in our organization as he has a restricted license that does not allow him to practice medicine outside of the public health realm. To work in primary care or long term care he would require a significant amount of further training to get an appropriate license.

Dr. Arra stated that many of his colleagues do not provide afterhours coverage. Please be advised that a physician of the OSFHO is on call at all times throughout the year. There is no compensation for this coverage.

To our knowledge there are no physicians who practice in Long Term Care (LTC) and generate the large salary ($800,000) that has been added to the public record through Dr. Arra’s presentation. This erroneous statement can be addressed by municipalities that provide a very modest stipend for physicians who cover municipal LTC facilities.

Please be advised that all physicians, as well as all taxpayers, are equally taxed as citizens of this province and country. Physicians in private practice actually have to use a portion of their income to maintain offices from which to provide patient care. While not an all-inclusive list, we have to pay staff, rent, property taxes, utility bills and purchase supplies. We are not salaried physicians and we do not get any benefits or access to pensions. Dr. Arra was sorely mistaken to advise that physicians who work in LTC pay just a 13% (one-three as he stated) income tax rate. Dr. Arra’s salary as was listed on the recent Sunshine list is a personal salary that would have also a generous benefit package attached and would be taxed at the same rate as that of any other physician.

We value honesty, transparency and respect and expect the same from others.

Board of Directors
Owen Sound Medical Associates Inc.





CopyRight ©2015, ©2016, ©2017 of Hub Content
is held by content creators