The New Democrat for Nickel Belt says the Ontario Liberals’ reluctance to expand a dental program faster than scheduled is costing a lot of extra money when it doesn’t have to. France Gelinas says three million Ontarians can’t afford dental care.
Gelinas, who is the NDP health critic, says as a result when they have dental issues, even something like a toothache, they head to a hospital’s emergency department where they’re prescribed painkillers. However Gelinas says this is a costly visit because it’s repeated across the province. She says this is an annual $30-million expense which doesn’t address the problem. Gelinas wants to know why the Premier is making this group of people wait another eight years for supported dental care.
In response, Health Minister Doctor Eric Hoskins says the government remains committed to expanding dental care to vulnerable people like the working poor by 2025. He says it’s a costly program and the government is working with partners to make it happen. Hoskins also says the government has been providing about half a million children who are under 18 with access to dental care. He told Gelinas during Question Period the government agrees it needs to add more age groups to dental care programs like more adults and the working poor.