PEI

Greens concerned about delay to provincial dental care program

The delay in the new provincial dental care program is disappointing for seniors and low-income Islanders, says P.E.I. Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker.

Program being implemented about a month late

The provincial Green Party estimates about 30 per cent of Islanders do not have dental insurance. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

The delay in the new provincial dental care program is disappointing to seniors and low-income Islanders, says P.E.I. Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker.

The program, first announced in a budget more than a year ago, was supposed to start on July 1.

Provincial officials say they are in the final stages of planning for the program and are on track to roll it out by the end of July.

The new program will combine several existing government programs, including dental treatment offered through the Department of Social Development and Housing for Islanders who receive social assistance, the children's dental care program and the low-income adult dental care program. 

Bevan-Baker, who had a dental practice for more than 30 years, says he has been hearing concerns about delays.

"Two hours is a long time if you have a toothache," he said. "So it's just very disappointing that this was promised and a very firm date set. And yet again, we have a promised program which is going to be delayed."

The provincial Green Party, the province's Official Opposition, estimates about 30 per cent of Islanders do not have dental insurance.

Low-income Islanders on social assistance are currently eligible for some dental care, but not preventative care such as cleanings or fillings.

More from CBC P.E.I.

 

With files from Angela Walker

now