Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dentures Campaign Update

City Council is Listening – Tell Them that You Support PCAP’s Fair Access to Dentures Campaign!

In December 2007, PCAP launched its 'Fair Access to Dentures Campaign' in response to the increasingly high volume of calls we received from people on ODSP and OW (many people on Ontario Works live with disabilities that make them unemployable) who had been denied access to dentures benefits. Upon investigation, we found a two-tiered discriminatory municipal policy that violated provincial legislation. Currently, the dentures benefit is only available for employment related reasons (even if you need them to relieve pain or for medical reasons). This policy has forced people to make a hard choice – feed the kids, pay the rent or buy new teeth.

Over the past 6 months PCAP has continued to lobby City Council to change this municipal policy. Our campaign is part of a broader effort by organizations and individuals in the city and across the province who recognize that welfare rates are set at dangerous subpoverty levels and that proactive measures need to be taken to increase benefits at all levels of government.

Several community groups and local dentists have endorsed our campaign, including the Peterborough Health Coalition, CUPE Local 3908, OPIRG Peterborough, NDP Local Riding Association, the Peterborough Coalition for Palestinian Solidarity, the YWCA Peterborough, Victoria, and Haliburton, and Dr. Andrew Hebden. If you are a local dentist or a member of a community group, please show your support by endorsing our fair access to dentures campaign!

On July 7th, 2008 Council approved a report aimed at expanding discretionary benefits for people trying to live on meagre social assistance incomes. It is most promising that Council recognized the need to expand eligibility criteria by making the dentures benefit available to people for both employment and health-related reasons. However, the following recommendations must also be implemented to ensure that full access to dentures is secured.

1. Accept retroactive applications from all recipients previously denied under the discriminatory policy.

This includes providing full reimbursement to those who have paid for their own dentures, and approving benefits payments for those who still require dentures.

2. Secure ongoing funding for the newly enhanced benefit.

The recommendations approved by Council last Monday only guarantees funding for the 2008 budget year. While we applaud the City for keeping these funds directed at social assistance for 2008, this will need to be secured in the 2009 budget as well. These enhanced benefits are a weak gain if funding is only guaranteed for one year.

3. Develop a standard application form for all discretionary benefits.

The problem of accessibility, accountability, transparency and tracking has been widely acknowledged in the community (and was much discussed at the October 22/07 public forum on discretionary benefits policy reform). The idea of a standard application form was put forth as a reasonable and easily achieved solution, yet is absent from the report.

4. Provide dentures coverage for $1500 total, rather than splitting the entitlement into two separate claims ($750 for lower and $750 for upper dentures work).

This imposes an unworkable limit since upper or lower dentures cost an average of $200 more than that, thus denying access to dentures for even more people.

5. Lobby governments for a 40% raise in OW/ODSP rates!

**Email City Councillors and Encourage Them to Make the Dentures Benefit Fully Accessible**

Please copy all emails to:

and Ken Doherty, Director of Community Services:

Paul Ayotte, Mayor

J. Douglas Peacock, Chair of Social Services

Director of Community Services

Henry Clarke, Deputy Mayor, Chair of Finance

Eric Martin, WARD 1 – Otonabee

Jack Doris, WARD 2 – Monaghan

Ann E. Farquharson, Ward 3 – Town

Dean Pappas, WARD 3 - Town

Patti S. Peeters, WARD 4 - Ashburnham

Len Vass, WARD 4 - Ashburnham

Shirley Eggleton, WARD 5 - Northcrest

Bob Hall, WARD 5 - Northcrest

Fight to Win!
Raise the Rates!


For more information on the 'Fair Access to Dentures Campaign' please click HERE

To view the social services report (Ontario Works Discretionary Benefits Review) approved by Council please click HERE (with attention to item 14)

Peterborough Examiner article: click HERE

**The changes to the dentures benefit policy will be in effect as of October 1st 2008 - please contact PCAP (, 749-9694) if you need dentures or have been denied access to the benefit.