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Ontario Government launches Dental Program for Low-Income Seniors
The Alliance for Healthier Communities welcomes the launch of the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program – which will increase access to dental care for roughly 100,000 seniors living on low incomes across the province.
Every year, six million people in Canada avoid visiting the dentist because of barriers linked to cost. Many of these people don’t have insurance to cover dental care and can’t afford to pay for care out of pocket. Included in this number are seniors living on low incomes.
The Ontario Government has announced an investment of approximately $90 million annually through the new Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program, which will provide free routine dental care for eligible low-income seniors across the province. The program will be delivered in Public Health Units (PHUs), Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHACs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs). These partnerships are crucial in making health care accessible for marginalized groups across our province.
“CHCs and AHACs are committed to seeing transformative change to the health system in Ontario. They exist to improve the health and wellbeing of people and communities facing barriers. The government has prioritized rolling the program out through PHUs in the first stage. However, to effectively reach seniors who need it the most, it’s imperative that the government work hand in hand with community-led health organizations,” says Adrianna Tetley, CEO of the Alliance.
“This is a monumental step. We are pleased to see the government announce this program. But our work here isn’t done. There are still gaps in care for thousands across this province. We urge the government to continue expanding access to dental care for all.”
Alliance members have advocated tirelessly for this program alongside partners and stakeholders such as the Ontario Oral Health Alliance and the Ontario Association of Public Health Dentists. We recognize the work that these groups have done to bring this program to the table, and we look forward to continued partnership in advocating for further expansion of dental care to all people living in Ontario.
The Alliance for Healthier Communities is a network of over 100 community-governed primary health care organizations who serve diverse communities across Ontario. Our members believe that everyone matters and they work to ensure the best possible health and wellbeing for everyone in Ontario. The Alliance for Healthier Communities stands for healthier people, healthier communities, a more inclusive society, and a more sustainable health care system.