The Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination provided a letter to the Honourable Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, in support of the 2017 budget submission from the Ontario Oral Health Alliance.
A 2015 report by the Poverty Task Force (PTF) found that 76% of respondents struggling to make ends meet couldn’t afford regular oral health care, while 36% indicated that they don’t have adequate insurance. As a result, they experience problems with eating, pain, depression, and believe that their oral health care needs cause or complicate other health problems.
In an effort to open up access to oral health care for low income adults and seniors, the PTF supports the following recommendations, as outlined in the 2017 budget submission from the Ontario Oral Health Alliance:
- The 2017 Ontario budget invest $10 million to support the first phase of a public program to provide oral health care to low income adults and seniors in the province;
- This funding should be flowed to maximize use of existing public investments in dental clinic infrastructure in Community Health Centres (CHCs), Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHACs) and Public Health Units so that they could extend their services to low income adults and seniors;
- CHCs and AHACs are already providing primary health care and support services to vulnerable people, so it makes sense to include oral health services for low income adults as part of their circle of care.
- This would be first phase of a broader program to ensure access to public oral health services for all low income adults and seniors in Ontario by 2025.