More British Columbians with low incomes receive dental care

THE Province is helping more British Columbians with low incomes receive much-needed dental care. Not-for-profit clinics will receive $2.8 million in new support over the next three years to ensure they can continue providing life-changing dental care for people in need at 21 clinics throughout B.C.

“Everyone should be able to visit the dentist and money shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing that care,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, on Wednesday. “Having healthy teeth is about confidence, dignity and overall well-being. While we look forward to details on how Ottawa will join us in providing this critical service, we’re building a stronger province for everyone by making sure all British Columbians can put their best smile forward.”

In 2021, not-for-profit clinics provided dental care for people with low incomes for free or at a reduced rate more than 47,000 times.

This funding to the BC Dental Association (BCDA) provides stability for the province’s not-for-profit dental clinics, helping offset costs, such as materials and dental lab fees, required to provide services to financially vulnerable people. It will also support the purchase of equipment, such as sterilization and X-ray machines, dental instruments and pediatric equipment.

Increasing access to dental care for people in need is part of TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty-reduction strategy. Funding dental services also supports commitments under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Niki Sharma, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits, said: “We’re proud to support British Columbians and the not-for-profits that have supported people throughout the pandemic. Our government chooses to invest in people. This vital funding will ensure there is a place for families with low incomes, seniors and people to go to for urgent or routine dental care.”

Dr. Samson Ng, President, British Columbia Dental Association, said: “The BCDA is extremely grateful for the generous funding by the B.C. government in support of the not-for-profit dental clinics in our province. As oral health-care professionals and community members, B.C.’s dentists are committed to providing inclusive access to quality dental care. This funding demonstrates the ongoing, vital partnership between oral health-care providers, government, and the charitable organizations that have kept these clinics operating through extremely challenging times.”