Meet With Your MPP
There are lots of reasons why a midwife may want to meet with a local MPP:
- the AOM is running a campaign and MPP education is a core component of the campaign
- there's a local issue you're taking a stand on
- you're new to the riding and want to discuss the important role that midwives play in the community
MPPs are interested in hearing from constituents and those who are actively involved in their ridings. By meeting with your local MPP, you will be demonstrating that midwives are active members of the community and front line health care providers. Building a good relationship with your MPP is good for you, your practice and midwifery in general.
Sometimes when the AOM runs campaigns, it's most effective for midwives to meet with MPPs during a specific campaign window. Outside of a campaign period, meeting with your MPPs any time they are available in their constituency (as opposed to being at work in Ottawa) is fine.
Unfortunately, a lot of MPPs are still unaware of the basics of midwifery and the role of government in funding, policy development, contract negotiations, etc. You may need to do a lot of basic education to help MPPs understand the work midwives do as front line health care providers. When a campaign is on, the AOM will provide you with a key messages sheet to help support your meeting.
To set up a meeting, find out what riding(s) your practice serves (your practice may serve more then one riding). In some cases, two practices may serve the same riding. If this is the case, you may be able to arrange a joint meeting, or you may make a strategic decision about which MPP to meet with. The AOM has developed some key messages you may wish to consult. You can also contact the AOM policy department if you'd like any support.
Additional tips for meeting with your MPP:
- Define the goal of your meeting. For example, do you want to build a relationship with a new MPP and inform them about midwifery? Are you advocating for a policy or program change, or funding commitment? What is it you want to express to your MPP, and what actions do you want them to take following the meeting? If you are including ‘asks’ as part of your meeting, limit these to one to three priorities.
- Research. Find out the current political priorities of your MPP and their party, and identify any areas of common ground upon which to build. Identify any benefits to Ontarians and the government of your ask. Be prepared to address any points of opposition (e.g. costs, risks) from the MPP or government. Collect any facts and figures that will support your ask (you can contact the AOM for help!). Be up-to-date on the AOM's submissions to the government and gather key messages from resources such as the Quadruple Aim and Midwifery Care document.
- Based on steps 1 – 2 above, prepare a briefing note 1 – 2 pages in length. You can provide this to your MPP or their constituency assistant prior to the meeting.
- Prepare an agenda. You will likely have a limited amount of time available for your meeting – make the most of it! Budget time for introductions, presentation of your ‘ask’, time for your MPP to ask questions, discuss and provide feedback, and a wrap up to determine next steps.
- Send your agenda and briefing note to the MPP via their constituency assistant prior to your meeting, if possible.
- Be succinct, courteous, brief and to the point.
- Listen to what your MPP has to say, and respond. If you can't answer their questions on the spot, let them know you will follow up after the meeting.
- At the end of the meeting, summarize any decisions made or follow ups needed, and thank your MPP for their time.
- The day after the meeting, send a letter or email to your MPP thanking them for taking the time to meet with you. Summarize any items of agreement, feedback and follow up that you discussed during the meeting. Include any additional information your MPP may have requested. If applicable, suggest a future meeting date to follow up.
- Briefing note
- Background information on midwifery, for example: Leveraging Midwifery in Ontario's Health-Care Transformation; Midwifery by the numbers; Family-centred labour and birth experience: Fact sheet .