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August 29, 2016
City of Toronto increases access to dental care for low-income adults and seniors through Poverty Reduction Strategy
News Release

August 29, 2016

City of Toronto increases access to dental care for low-income adults and seniors through Poverty Reduction Strategy

Mayor John Tory and Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale) today announced expanded emergency dental services access in all City of Toronto dental clinics for low-income adults and seniors. This partnership provides Ontario Works clients seeking emergency dental services access to 18 additional Toronto Public Health dental clinics, an increase from the five provincially funded Toronto Public Health clinics offering this service last year.

This increase is a result of Toronto Public Health (TPH) and Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) working together to improve the level of dental services for adults and seniors receiving Ontario Works as part of the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Thanks to this initiative, there has been a 60 percent increase in the number of Ontario Works clients accessing dental services and an improved level of available dental care.

"By making this investment we are providing dental care to the people who need it most. This program will dramatically increase the quality of life for seniors and adults by reducing dental diseases and promoting healthy dental care,” said Mayor Tory. “Initiatives like these showcase how innovative partnerships can improve the lives of vulnerable residents in our city. This is one of the many proactive steps we are taking to move Toronto's Poverty Reduction Strategy forward."

This dental care initiative is part of the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. In the 2016 budget, the City invested over $100 million to fight poverty and help our most vulnerable residents. Poverty reduction initiatives include providing student nutrition programs for children, expanding homemaker and nurses programs for seniors in long-term care, keeping libraries open longer on the weekends, and providing young people and single parents access to good jobs.

The first phase of implementing the Poverty Reduction Strategy's recommendations, as of May 2016, resulted in all adult recipients receiving Ontario Works to have the additional option of being treated for emergency dental care at any of Toronto Public Health's 23 dental clinics.

During the period of January 1 to June 30, 2015, 468 Ontario Works adult clients accessed dental treatment in the five provincially funded, TPH-managed dental clinics. In comparison, that same time period in 2016 resulted in 768 Ontario Works adult clients accessing dental treatment in the 23 available TPH dental clinics.

"The expansion of emergency dental services for Ontario Works recipients marks an important milestone in the implementation of the Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy," said Deputy Mayor McConnell. "I am so pleased that Toronto Employment and Social Services and Toronto Public Health have collaborated on this initiative to improve health outcomes and employment opportunities for Torontonians who are living in poverty."

"Dental cavities and tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and lead to further gum, mouth and health problems. They can also impair important functions to our well-being such as eating, drinking and speaking," said Dr. Howard Shapiro, Toronto's Acting Medical Officer of Health. "Improving access to oral and dental health services in Toronto is an important part in reducing poor health outcomes and diseases for low-income residents."

Toronto Public Health now offers eligible residents free and low-cost dental services, including:
• non-emergency and emergency dental care services offered in 23 clinics across the city to eligible children and youth up to age 18, parents enrolled in Toronto Public Health's perinatal or parenting programs, and low-income seniors (65 years+)
• working with community health centres, agencies and dentists to ensure treatment and services are available to vulnerable populations and low-income residents, and
• the mobile dental clinic, which provides dental services throughout the city for eligible patients who are socially marginalized.

More information about City of Toronto dental services is available at

More information about the City of Toronto's Poverty Reduction Strategy is available at

The Poverty Reduction Strategy is known as TO Prosperity. Through this 20-year plan, Toronto is addressing issues, creating solutions and driving systemic change in an effort to create a city where everyone has access to good jobs, adequate income, stable housing, affordable transportation, nutritious food and supportive services. Visit to see how the City is working toward that vision.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

Media Contact
Lenore Bromley
Toronto Public Health

Keerthana Kamalavasan
Office of the Mayor



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