New patient acquisition? Read the fine print…

As the Ontario dental regulator, we are here to protect the public and advance the practice of dentistry. We are committed to ensuring that access to oral health care is available for all Ontarians.

As part of that work, we held an
Access to Care symposium in 2019. We heard from community health advocates about the challenges faced by northern communities, including Indigenous and First Nations communities, as well as from those who rely on government support programs.

In October, the federal government introduced legislation to provide direct, up-front, tax-free payments to cover dental care for Canadians who do not have access to private dental benefits, starting with children under age 12 in 2022. This will likely result in more Ontarians seeking dentists.

The College is committed to innovation and new models of care that benefit patients. We have seen a number of new delivery models enter the market including technology and other emerging initiatives designed to improve practice. One of the new technologies is web-based patient and dentist matching services.

This is a positive development in providing more access to care, as long as the technology does not exclude people who are receiving government support. In Ontario, government support could be the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Ontario Works (OW), Healthy Smiles Ontario, Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program (for First Nations and Inuit people), the Interim Federal Health Program (for foreign nationals) or the proposed Canada Dental Benefit.

Excluding patients on government support programs may not be consistent with your legal obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code or the professional expectations from the College. Failing to comply with your obligations could be considered professional misconduct. Please be sure to read all the details of new-patient acquisition apps and websites before you commit.

Together, we can help remove the barriers for patients and improve access to care to help more Ontarians have access to oral health care.