In 1979, after a decade of poor results in negotiations with the Government of BC, the then BCMA decided to hire a nonphysician expert in negotiations to enhance the ability of the profession to maximize the results in the negotiation of 1980–1981.
Mr Trevino was one of the three people interviewed by the Negotiating Committee of the day, on which I was the junior member. We met Ben at Armando’s Restaurant on Pender Street and were completely fascinated by his personality, his interest in the upcoming negotiations, and his ability to down martinis! Although Ben’s experience was in representing management in corporate/union negotiations, he quickly assessed the situation and sketched out for us of an approach that recognized our members’ identification with management while being on the other side of the table in negotiations. We recommended to the Board of Directors that we retain Ben, and he was hired to advise the BCMA throughout the negotiation. With his guidance, we were able to negotiate a 40% increase in fees over a 2-year period!
Ben was thus the first professional negotiator to work with a provincial/territorial medical association, blazing the way for the now standard practice of having professional help with the government negotiations across Canada.
Ben advised our association about negotiations until 1994 when he left his practice to sit as a bencher for the Law Society. He also worked with the Ontario Medical Association and helped other associations and the CMA with issues.
After he left the role of negotiation advisor, he was appointed to be a commissioner of the Medical Services Commission, a post in which he represented the interests of the people of the province and the doctors of BC with great wisdom and humility. He served in that role for 6 years.
In recognition of his more than 20 years of work for and with our association, he was awarded the BCMA Silver Medal of Service in 2007. He was only the second nonphysician to be so honored.
Ben was the president of the Alma Mater Society at UBC as a student and then served that institution as a member of both the senate and the board of governors.
In addition to being a bencher, he served the lawyers of this province as their treasurer. He loved gardening, fly fishing, and martinis.
On 20 November 2014, Ben passed on after a long fight with cancer with his daughter, Serita, at his side. He was predeceased by his teenage sweetheart, Jackie, to whom he was married for 63 years. He is survived by Serita; his son, Andre; their spouses; and his grandchildren, and is fondly remembered by the many partners and associates at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin as well as many of the physicians and surgeons of the province, whom he served.
“Gentle Ben” touched many lives with his charm, warmth, eloquence, and advice. British Columbia is a better place thanks to him, and the doctors of BC owe him a great deal.
—Brad Fritz, MD
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