Muskoka Post Staff
TORONTO — On Nov. 20 the provincial government announced that as part of its plan to end hallway health care, Ontario is investing in programs that keep seniors healthy.
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 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.
The Ford government has launched a new user-friendly web portal (ontario.ca/SeniorsDental) seniors can use to apply to the program.
Eligible seniors can apply to the program online as of today, or by picking up an application form at a local public health unit.
"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.
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.
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).