Peel public health funding unchanged despite growing and aging population

free dental health

The Region of Peel provides free dental health care for seniors at East Mississauga community health centre. Majlinda Muhametaj, CDA-level two. – Riziero Vertolli/Torstar

A recent funding announcement will help offset pressures felt by Peel Public Health, but does not fully recognize a growing need for services, according to the region.

Natalia Kusendova, Mississauga-Centre Conservative MPP, said in a statement Aug. 23 the region’s funding would remain at $54 million for the 2019 fiscal year, the same as in 2018.

“Consequentially, the region will not be incurring any new costs as a result of the announced cost-sharing changes,” she said.

However, according to an emailed statement from Peel Regional Chair Nando Iannica’s office, the funding does not recognize Peel’s growing population, and it is too early to know if there will be any new costs related to the ratio changes in the 2020 budget.

The province announced last week municipalities across Ontario would pay 30 per cent of the cost share for public-health costs in 2020.

Peel is currently supposed to pay 25 per cent of the public health cost share, but according to Caledon Coun. Johanna Downey, Peel Regional Health Chair, they contribute closer to 34 per cent.

Since the Region already contributes more than its required share of public-health costs, the cost share changes will have no impact on public-health programming for 2020.

Kusendova’s statement went on to note an additional $3 million from the province to fully fund the 2019 Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP), which Downey added is great news for seniors in Peel, would ease the cost-share burden on the region.

“Since Peel already has its own regionally funded Seniors Dental Program (SDP), Public Health can use the saving from that program, which will no longer be offered, to help offset cost of living increases not funded by the province,” Iannicca said in a statement from his office.

However, the additional funding will have no impact on the Public Health cost shared budget, as it is not a provincially cost-shared program.

Once the OSDCP is implemented in fall 2019, Downey said the new funding will help more seniors in Peel access free dental care.

Peel Public Health hopes Ontario’s Ministry of Health will continue to provide sufficient funding to meet the needs of the region’s growing and aging population.

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Author: Eric