Ontario’s dentists must be part of any federal dental program funding negotiations
Toronto, ON- For the past few years, the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) has been asking the province to make a meaningful commitment to children with a $50 million investment in the Healthy Smiles Ontario program that treats kids under the age of 17 from low-income homes. Today’s budget failed to address this problem or the chronic underfunding of three other provincial dental programs.
ODA President Dr. Charles Frank sent a letter to the Minister of Health in September and while we received a response only just last week with an acknowledgement of the hard work and challenges dentists across Ontario have been dealing with, we need a serious commitment.
With the recent announcement of a federal dental care program, Ontario’s dentists must be at the table during any negotiations with the province and federal government. We want to fix the massive funding gap in existing provincial dental programs while providing the invaluable insight and expertise needed to make sure taxpayer money will be used wisely.
For example, Ontario’s relatively new dental program for low-income seniors isn’t meeting the needs of the 100,000 seniors eligible for it. The ODA wasn’t consulted before the creation of this program and we know much more can be done to help these vulnerable members of our communities.
Ontario’s dentists are grateful for the support they’ve received from the province during the pandemic through free access to N95 masks and rapid antigen tests, but the fact remains dental programs are badly underfunded and have been for over a decade. We’re calling on the province to work with us to solve this problem now, once and for all.
About the Ontario Dental Association
The ODA has been Ontario’s primary source for dental information since 1867 and represents over 10,000, or 90 per cent, of dentists in the province. For more dental care tips and COVID-19 updates, including what to expect at your next dental appointment, go to www.oda.ca.