Ontario Government Launches Free Routine Dental Care for Low-Income Seniors

Program Will Help Keep Seniors Healthy in Niagara

“By providing seniors with access to quality dental care and keeping them out of hospitals, this new program is a key part of our plan to end hallway health care.”                                                   – Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott.

“The announcement today addresses the growing needs of our aging population in Niagara.”                                                                –  Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West

News from the Ontario Government

Posted November 21st, 2019 on Niagara At Large


Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott

Thorold, Ontario – As part of its comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, Ontario is investing in programs that keep seniors healthy in their communities longer.

Each year in Ontario, preventable dental issues like gum disease, infections and chronic pain lead to more than 60,000 emergency department visits by patients, of which a significant portion are seniors. Many low-income seniors face challenges accessing regular dental care because they cannot afford it, impacting their overall well-being.

This is why the government is investing approximately $90 million annually for the new Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP), which will provide free routine dental care for eligible low-income seniors in Niagara and across the province. In doing so, the government expects to reduce the number of dental-related emergency department visits, helping to end hallway health care.

Eligible seniors can apply to the program online as of today (ontario.ca/SeniorsDental<https://www.ontario.ca/page/dental-care-low-income-seniors>), or by picking up an application form at a local public health unit.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

“With this program, we are making sure Ontario’s low-income seniors can age with dignity and enjoy the quality of life they deserve,” said Premier Ford.

“This is another concrete way our government is delivering on our commitment to end hallway health care and cut hospital wait times.”

“By providing seniors with access to quality dental care and keeping them out of hospitals, this new program is a key part of our plan to end hallway health care,” said Minister Elliott.

“Ontario is building a connected system of care that supports all Ontarians throughout their health care journey.”

“The well-being of all Ontario’s seniors is a top priority for this government,” said Minister Cho.

“This new dental care program will help eligible seniors receive the quality dental care they deserve. By keeping seniors healthy, we can also help seniors avoid emergency visits to the hospital, prevent chronic diseases, and increase quality of life for seniors in Niagara and across the province.”

Ontarians aged 65 and over with an income of $19,300 or less, or couples with a combined annual income of $32,300 or less, who do not have dental benefits, will qualify for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program.

Niagara West MPP and Ford government member Sam Oosterhoff

“The announcement today addresses the growing needs of our aging population in Niagara,” noted Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

“Free, high-quality routine dental care for eligible low-income seniors is a key step in our government’s transformational strategy to end hallway health care in the province.”

Ontario remains committed to building healthier communities and making life more affordable for everyone, including seniors and their families.

Quick Facts

  •   *   It is estimated that 100,000 low-income seniors will benefit annually from this program once fully implemented.
  •   *   Two-thirds of low-income seniors do not have access to dental insurance.
  •   *   The new dental care program will be available through public health units, including some mobile dental clinics, as well as participating Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHACs).

    A Brief Footnote by Doug Draper, reporter and publisher, Niagara At Large –

    At the risk of having at least some people comment or email me back and say, as someone recently did; “There you go again. You wouldn’t write something nice about Doug Ford and his government if they found a cure for cancer anyway, I am going to leave you with a couple of points anyone.

    Ontario Premier Doug Ford has spent more than a year promising an end to “hallway healthcare” in Ontario’s hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

    First, we have heard many announcement from this Ford government before about improvements it was going to make in health care, education and other areas, only to receive information later from citizen watchdog organizations and from everyday people in communities across Ontario, that services in these areas have become harder to access, or have gotten worse rather than better.

    For that reason,  it got to a point well within the first year of this government taking power that for this journalist at least, the jury is out with announcements like this.

    Second, it is certainly appears to be a good idea to offer free dental care to  seniors who otherwise find it difficult, if not impossible to pay for it, but what about children of families struggling financially to get by? Isn’t it in everyone’s’ best interests to offer all of our children the opportunity grow up to be healthy adults too?

    Finally,  it is long last time  to launch a public inquiry into why the cost of going to a dentist is so high for all of us and is even prohibitive for some people, and whether or not we would be better off as a society to include dental care, along with pharmaceutical drugs, part of our universal health care plan.

    Please feel free to share your views below.

    • Doug Draper, journalist

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

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For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. a leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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