September 13th, 2023
September 13th, 2023
QUEEN'S PARK – Official Opposition NDP Critic for Seniors, Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay—Superior North), is shedding light on the troubling state of the seniors' dental program in Ontario. This problem has persisted since 2021, and despite continued calls for action, the Ford government has failed to address the issue.
“Years ago, we identified this problem, and despite our relentless calls for action, the Ford Conservatives have chosen to do nothing, leaving our seniors to endure excruciating wait times for essential dental care with no relief in sight," said Vaugeois. "Seniors needing immediate dental work such as partial plates and dentures so they can eat and live with dignity cannot get an appointment. People are suffering, and they cannot wait any longer.”
Low-income seniors are being cut off from the seniors’ dental program (OSDCP) because there have been slight increases in payments to seniors through GAINS, CPP, and the OAS, raising their income slightly above the allowable amount set by the province. People who received the Federal One Time Seniors Payment also no longer qualify, and the Ministry refuses to change the income threshold to accommodate the federal program. To qualify for the OSDCP, a single senior must earn less than $22,200 per year, or a couple must have a combined income of $37,100 or less without any other dental benefits.
"We know that costs for everything have risen dramatically, and the small increase to income supports for seniors are much needed, but frankly, are still not enough," said Vaugeois. “These are our grandparents, parents, and cherished members of our community. It is not too much to ask for. Seniors shouldn't have to fight for care.
These are not discretionary expenses – they are vital for the health and well-being of anyone needing these dental services. The solution is simple - this government must increase investment and expand eligibility to ensure seniors can quickly access these essential services regardless of income."
Only two dental offices in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region currently serve seniors through the OSDCP: one in Kitchener and one in Cambridge. As a result, seniors are forced to wait many months and, in some circumstances, years for dental services.