September 1, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced a $25 million investment to expand access to the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program for low-income seniors. The funding will be used to support 78 projects, including building new dental clinics and renovating existing facilities. In addition, the province is adding eight new mobile dental clinics to bring services directly to clients. Today’s announcement is a key part of the government’s plan to end hallway health care, by providing seniors with quality dental care and reducing unnecessary trips to the hospital.
Premier Ford was joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott; Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, Raymond Cho; and Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and ministers responded to questions from media and addressed the province’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
Earlier today, Premier Ford and Minister Lecce visited Kensington Community School in Toronto, to observe health and safety measures in place prior to students returning to class in two weeks. In response to questions about their visit, Premier Ford commended the school for its creativity and use of alternate classroom spaces. Minister Lecce added that the visit was a cause for optimism, underscoring the tremendous efforts of principals, educators, staff at the ministries of Health and Education, and public health officials to ensure a safe return to school. Premier Ford and Minister Lecce will be visiting additional schools in the near future.
When asked how well-equipped the province is to manage potential outbreaks in schools, Minister Elliott reassured parents that the province’s plan involves many layers of risk minimization, including physical distancing, masking, and frequent hand washing. While there is still a risk of COVID-19 outbreaks occurring in schools, the province has done everything in its power to ensure that schools are safe and welcoming environments for students. She added that the province’s outbreak management process has been “stress tested” and that immediate action will be taken in response to any outbreaks in the education sector.
Expansion of Social Bubbles
In response to questions about whether the government would expand the permitted size of social bubbles once students return to school, Minister Elliott admitted that social bubbles for students attending school will be larger. She added that the government may consider expanding social bubbles soon but cautioned that considerations must also take into account the approaching fall flu season. At present, social bubbles in Ontario will remain limited to 10 people.