Peel Poverty Action Group (PPAG) is composed of service providers, advocates and individuals working towards the elimination of poverty in the Region of Peel. PPAG began in November, 1997, arising from a Child Poverty Forum sponsored by the Social Planning Council of Peel. PPAG’s mission is to work toward eliminating poverty by increasing awareness and sensitivity to the needs of those affected by poverty and to advocate for positive social and political change.
Peel - All they want for Christmas is a few front teeth.
That’s the seasonal wish list for many folk who eat at Knights Table, the community kitchen in Brampton that serves more than 50,000 free meals a year to Peel people who are dealing with hunger, poverty, homelessness.
A few front teeth for the needy is also part of the wish list for the Ontario Dental Association (ODA). And if all else fails, dentists want the tax man to play Santa.
This is what it's all about: Various governments pay for dental care for some people who don't have the money to take good care of their teeth. But the government does not pay full fees. The ODA says its dentist members receive as little as 30 per cent for some procedures, and an average of half-price for dental care for some people in need.
The ODA want the Ontario government to pay full fees. But if the government can’t or won’t pay in full, the ODA suggests a tax credit for the difference. With governments giving tax breaks to business, it seems reasonable to give tax breaks to people who are helping the cash-poor.
Here’s who gets what: For people on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program, government pays for emergency and essential dental treatment.
Healthy Smiles Ontario pays for regular dental visits, check-ups, cleaning, fillings, x-rays, scaling and more for kids 17 and under who have no other dental coverage. Children in Need of Treatment (CINOT) pays for emergency care. Free clinics for children’s care are provided by Peel Public Health. Watch for local advertising.
What happens when you get older? In Peel, seniors who don’t have a dental plan or enough ready cash to pay for their own dentist, may go on a waiting list for more than a year. But Peel Regional Council does put our money where our mouths are. It recently approved continuing a dental plan for seniors, assigning $1.2 million a year of our property tax money for tooth care for older folk. The program is unique in Ontario – no other municipality fills this cavity in care with property tax cash. And we taxpayers provide dentists with 70% of fee – top of the average, and rightly so. To get on the waiting list, seniors should phone (905) 799-7700.
Several Peel dentists are often generous. Some donate a day a year to treating people at no charge. But it’s only one treatment, and one dentist and staff can see only about 40 patients a day at best. Faith groups are active in social justice, and free dental care is provided by St. Mina and St. Kyrellos Coptic Church, 1699 Dundas Street East, Mississauga. Phone (905) 238-9008.
Community Health Centres expect to provide dental services soon.
Meanwhile, back at Knights Table, Peel Poverty Action Group (PPAG) is asking if dentists would adopt one chew-challenged patient each, and provide them with those few front teeth for Christmas that they so desperately need. Photos on Facebook, Teeth in Trouble. Pick your patient from the photos. Then phone (905) 826-5041.