Community groups showed cautious optimism today at the Mayor's announcement on dental care as part of the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. Sean Meagher, Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto was encouraged by the City’s announcement of expanding access to dental care for low-income Torontonians: “We are glad to see investments in front line services, and count on seeing them extended to key supports like housing, transit and childcare”.
In July of 2015, Toronto City Council voted by a vote of 40-2 in favour of a Poverty Reduction Strategy, but has yet to fully commit to funding the plan. In July 2016, Council directed staff to draft a budget based on an across-the-board 2.6% cut in spending, affecting critical services linked to poverty reduction.
“More work is needed— Expanding dental care represents progress that could be easily stalled with higher transit fees and cuts to housing. We want to work with the Mayor and Council to ensure dental care expansion is part of a complete package on poverty reduction.” said Meagher.
While Council will consider the budget in early 2017, proposed cuts to items such as transit will be debated as early as September 2016, continuing through the fall and winter.