Sunday, December 16, 2007

Take Action! - Dentures Campaign


In This Post:

1) Learn more about the Fair Access to Dentures Campaign

2) Read a letter by a PCAP member that urges the City to redirect the
"windfall" money to poverty relief

3) Take Action Now - Write the City to Support PCAP's Demands; Donate to
the Dentures Fundraiser


1) Fair Access to Dentures Campaign

Only those OW/ODSP recipients who are employable are permitted to receive dentures benefits. Those who are unable to work due to disabilities cannot receive the one-time $1500 denture benefit, and must pay for this out of their already inadequate assistance benefits, sacrificing necessities such as food and clothing.

Go To PCAP's blog to read more about the Fair Access to Dentures Campaign:


2) PCAP Member's Letter to the Examiner:

“Windfall” Spending Ignores Poverty in Peterborough

As reported by the Examiner on Tuesday, December 6, City Council recently announced an “unexpected windfall” for the 2008 City budget in the amount of $895,987. City Council proposes to allocate the extra money to capital projects ($500,000), a contingency fund ($100,000), and property tax relief ($295,987). Although money spent on these initiatives has come as a welcome surprise to some Peterborough residents, larger questions loom regarding the priorities of City Council.

At a time when thousands of Peterborough residents are living below the poverty line, it is fair to ask why some of this “windfall” was not directed toward any of the urgent needs of the poor. The City has repeatedly told anti-poverty advocates that there is simply no money in the budget to help Peterborough’s poor. Yet now we are informed of nearly $900,000 in new money, none of which is being allocated to combat poverty. While Mayor Ayotte has set up a Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty Reduction,
and encourages “broad community engagement, as we identify community-wide strategies to support change in areas where we can make a difference,” this windfall spending demonstrates a complete disregard for issues of poverty in Peterborough.

One example of a pressing and dire need for funding is reflected in the Peterborough Coalition Against Poverty’s (PCAP’s) ongoing campaign for fair access to dentures. The Ontario Works Act allows municipalities to provide “discretionary benefits” to people on social assistance, which includes “the cost of dental services.” However, local policy in Peterborough only allows these benefits for individuals who are “pursuing and maintaining employment.” This means that individuals on ODSP (Ontario
Disability Support Program), most of whom cannot work due to disability, are currently being refused access to denture benefits. PCAP is currently working with a number of people who have lost all their teeth, are being refused dentures benefits, and have been placed in a situation where they must choose between buying food and paying for new teeth to eat it with.

Most of us probably take our teeth (real or false) for granted. Imagine a life without teeth, and no way of paying for dentures. This is a lived reality for some members of our community, and a reality that should simply not be tolerated. Not even a fraction of this unexpected $895,987 is being allocated to the “discretionary benefits” program, even when the Province would match one dollar spent by the Municipality with four additional dollars. Even $20,000 from the City would lead to
life-changing improvements for many members of our community.

Lack of fair access to dentures is just one of many poverty related issue that has been neglected in the “windfall” spending. It’s time we demand that Council stops the rhetoric, and starts prioritizing poverty reduction measures in Peterborough through concrete action. For more information on PCAP’s campaign for fair access to dentures, or information regarding what you can do, please see PCAP’s blog: or e-mail PCAP at

Dave Thomas, PCAP member



1. Write to Paul Ayotte and all Councillors urging them to support PCAP’s
core demands:

• EXPAND eligibility criteria for ODSP and OW now!
• INCREASE benefits budget now!
• IMPLEMENT retroactive benefits coverage now!
• LOBBY governments for OW/ODSP increase – 40% now!

Paul Ayotte, Mayor
e-mail: (cc PCAP:

J. Douglas Peacock, Chair of Social Services
e-mail: (cc PCAP:

Henry Clarke, Deputy Mayor, Chair of Finance
e-mail: (cc PCAP:

2. If you are able, please SEND A DONATION. This money will go directly to
the fundraising campaign for Sharron, to recover her dentures costs. No
donation is too big or too small! Every dollar donated will be immediately
forwarded to Sharron. Read more about Sharon's case at:

Please make cheques payable to:
Peterborough Coalition Against Poverty (“Dentures Campaign”).
393 Water Street, Unit 17, Peterborough, Ontario, K9H 3L7 (send or deliver).