A dental care program for seniors and low-income Islanders has been established in Prince Edward Island. This program has largely come about thanks to pressure and advocacy from the P.E.I. Green Party which forms the province’s official opposition.
Despite it’s late delivery which was supposed to be finalized by July 1st of this year, the Green Party of P.E.I. is happy nonetheless with the implementation of this new program. In 2020, the Green caucus asked the P.E.I. government to reserve 2.5 million dollars for a provincial dental care program in their budget and Dennis King’s provincial government said it would oblige to that request.
It took some pressure to have the program delivered. Through various statements, leader Peter Bevan-Baker and the party were getting anxious as no details were released. This was especially evident in the month of July once the original July 1st promised deadline had passed. An article by CBC in mid-July saw the P.E.I. Greens report that 30% of Islanders did not have dental insurance.
When the announcement finally came in late July of the program’s start, it was seen as a victory for those who patiently waited:
How does it work
The basics of this new program allow for low income Islanders and their dependents to have dental care coverage. Covered services include dental extraction, dental fillings, some preventable services and removable dentures. Annual exams and cleanings can be accessed once a year while other services will be administered as needed with various limitations.
P.E.I. residents and their dependents who have an active provincial health card and are receiving social assistance or assured income, as well as those who’s family meets the financial threshold qualify for the program. Treatment can be received at private and public clinics in the province.
More details about who can qualify, how to apply and the financial thresholds to be met can be found on the on the Green caucus of P.E.I.’s website.
Peter Bevan-Baker’s comments
Global Green News reached out to Peter Bevan-Baker, leader of the P.E.I. Green Party and of the official opposition to learn what he had to say about the dental care program. As a long time dentist, Bevan-Baker was a strong advocate for access to proper dental care.
When asked about the priority of this issue, Bevan-Baker referred to it as being a platform issue:
Global Green News also asked about what this program means for the rest of Canada and if it can serve as a possible precedent. The opposition leader acknowledged that this is a possibility but also mentioned that P.E.I.’s small size allows for efficient implementation:
Lastly, Global Green News inquired about similar policy objectives that the P.E.I. Greens may have. Bevan-Baker mentioned a motion passed in the House to expand vision care to social assistance clients. Bevan-Baker has also been pressuring the provincial government to study the overall well-being of Islanders:
Details on the Vital Signs project can be found here.