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queenspark270Local MPP Bill Walker says that senior citizens in Ontario “deserve to be respected and live in dignity. Often obstacles and finances have prohibited some seniors from being able to receive the dental care they require.”

Ontario is now providing low-income seniors access to quality dental care through a new publicly-funded dental care program that will begin in late summer 2019.

"Ontario’s Government for the People continues putting patients at the centre of care by providing seniors with the support they need to access high-quality and affordable dental care," said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Christine Elliott. "We are taking another step in creating a sustainable and connected health care system that is built for the future."

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. The services will be accessed through public health units, community health centres and Aboriginal Health Access Centres across the province.

The health and well-being of seniors across the province is one of our government’s top priorities,” said Minister of Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho. “For many lower income seniors, it is hard for them to access affordable dental care. This program is putting seniors first by providing the essential services they need and deserve.”

No senior should go without quality dental care. Preventable dental issues such as gum disease, infections and chronic pain leads to more than 60,000 emergency visits per year,” said Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker. “This program will be of great benefit to our region, which has a higher-than average population of senior citizens.”

Untreated oral health issues can lead to chronic diseases and a reduced quality of life, while also creating a reliance on emergency departments already under increased capacity pressures.

"This is another example of how our government is engaging and listening to patients, caregivers and frontline health care providers on ways to help end hallway health care," said Elliott. "Dental care for seniors will provide them with the right care and avoid preventable emergency department visits."