In 2019, the Government of Ontario announced a new publicly funded dental care program for low income seniors. This program has been named the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP) and aims to increase quality of life for seniors, reduce chronic disease and health inequities, and prevent unnecessary trips to the hospital. There is a large local need for this program; it is important to note that in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, 55.5% of our population over age 65 report having no access to dental insurance (Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, 2017).
The eligibility criteria are outlined as follows:
- 65 years of age or older
- Resident of Ontario
- Must meet income thresholds ($19,300 or less for a single senior, or combined income of $32,300 or less for a couple)
- Must not have access to any other form of dental benefits (ex. private insurance or another government program)
How do I apply?
Seniors, guarantors and caregivers will be able to apply for the program in person at your health unit, by letter mail to the central processing office, and online. We are currently developing local application support resources. Centralized application processing and income verification will be handled by Accerta. Once enrolled, seniors will receive an Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program card in the mail within seven days, and will be automatically re-enrolled based on income/tax forms each year.
Ministry of Health
Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program
Station P, P.O. Box 159
What if seniors need help with the application?
Seniors may call the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program’s bilingual (English/French) contact centre for questions and support through the application process.
Seniors may also call 1-800-660-5853 for further assistance.
What documentation is needed to apply to the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program through the main application?
A senior may apply to the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program through the main application process and use the online portal if they have:
- A Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Temporary Taxation Number; and
- Filed a Personal Tax Return with Canada Revenue Agency for the most recent tax year
What if a senior does not have a SIN and/or did not file taxes in the recent tax year?
A senior may apply to the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program via a Guarantor using the Guarantor Form. This form must be printed, filled out and mailed to the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program, or a hardcopy form may be picked up at Public Health.
A Guarantor must be a person that;
- Is a Canadian Citizen and 18 years of age or older
- Can confirm the identity of the applicant and if applicable, their spouse/common law partner and the identity, age and Ontario residency of the client(s).
- Is a member of a regulated profession (e.g. dentist, teacher, nurse, doctor, lawyer) or other specified profession (e.g. mayor, professor). Please visit www.ontario.ca/seniorsdental for a list of acceptable guarantors.
What if an applicant’s spouse is eligible and wishes to apply for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program?
Seniors need to apply for the program on an individual basis (i.e. a couple must complete two application forms if they both wish to apply).
How will a senior’s financial eligibility be determined?
Eligibility for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program will be based on a senior’s net income (line 236 from your income tax form). Net income measures the sum of all income potentially subject to tax, including but not limited to employment income, investment income, pension income (including CPP), and government social support payments (e.g., OAS, Guaranteed Income Supplement, Social Assistance) less non-discretionary expenses associated with earning income (e.g., union dues, professional fees) and pension contributions (e.g., RRSP contributions or contributions to a Registered Pension Plan).
What happens if the application is approved?
Once an application has been approved, a welcome package and dental card will be mailed to the applicant.
To receive services, the eligible senior must call 1-800-660-5853 to book an appointment. The dental card must be presented at the time of the appointment.
Seniors will be notified by mail each year of their eligibility for continued participation in the program, or about how to re-apply to the program if that is required.
What services are covered?
- Examinations, assessments and screenings
- Preventive services (e.g. cleanings)
- Restorative services to repair broken teeth and cavities
- Radiographs (dental x-rays for diagnosis)
- Oral surgery services to remove teeth or abnormal tissue
- Endodontic services to treat infection and pain
- Periodontal services to treat gum conditions and diseases
- Denture services include fittings and realigns
Where are services provided?
Services are delivered by our network of providers, not private dentists. Please call 1-800-660-5853 to learn more.
How can a senior get help if they do not meet the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program eligibility criteria?
Public Health continues to advocate for equitable access to oral health care for all. If a senior is in pain, they should go to the nearest emergency room or call us at 1-800-660-5853 and we may be able to help them access other local programs. A senior may also call dental offices in their area to see if they offer payment plans or reduced fees for those without insurance.