May 5th, 2022

Horwath announces the Ontario Dental Plan

TORONTO – If elected, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will bring in the Ontario Dental Plan, which will mean free or low-cost dental care for all low- and middle-income families.

“We all want what’s best for our families — including regular check-ups at the dentist. But the cost of living is making that harder,” said Horwath. “People are racking up credit card bills to get the dental care they need. Parents sometimes make the heartbreaking decision to put off getting their kid’s cavity filled because it’s not in the budget. Dental care is health care — so why is it costing people so much? With the NDP, you’ll be covered.”

Horwath’s Ontario Dental Plan will save a family of four $1,240 every year just on basic checkups and a cavity. If both kids need braces, Horwath’s plan could save them over $13,000.

The plan will cover all uninsured low- and middle-income families for dental care. Ontario households earning less than $90,000 will pay nothing. Ontarians with a household income between $90,000 and $200,000 will pay a co-pay, on a sliding scale that goes no higher than 50 per cent of the dentist’s bill.

An NDP government will invest $680 million in 2022-23, which will be added to committed federal dollars. When full, annualized federal funding flows, Ontario will maintain the program with a $380 million annual investment.

The NDP will also make targeted capital investments of at least $25 million, which will help build and expand 70 dental suites and buy and operate seven mobile dental buses. These will be targeted to rural, remote, Indigenous and Northern communities.

That plan meshes with and expands on the coverage funded by an anticipated federal plan. When dollars for that begin flowing, the federal government will contribute part of the cost for households earning less than $90,000. Horwath won’t wait, though — the NDP plan will start in 2022 with households earning less than $90,000 and expand to households earning under $200,000 within two years.

Fifty per cent of Ontarians have little or no dental coverage. One in three working people don’t have dental benefits. And 61 per cent of retired people don’t have dental insurance. Every nine minutes in Ontario, someone visits an ER to get care for a dental problem, costing the province an estimated $38 million every year.

“For years, the Liberals and Conservatives made life more expensive — and made big cuts to health care. The Kathleen Wynne and Steven Del Duca government had 15 years to make life more affordable by covering dental care. They chose not to. And Doug Ford’s cuts definitely won’t help,” said Horwath. “But together, we can fix it.”

“No one should have to deal with the pain or lifelong damage of going without dental care. With our plan, no one will have to. We’ve got you covered.”