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Ontario free dental

Ontario could get free dental care if NDP win next election

This June, the people of Ontario will choose a new leader (or re-elect our current one) in what's shaping up to be one of the more exciting, and potentially impactful, provincial elections this century.

The dramatic ousting of Ontario PC party leader Patrick Brown and news of his replacement by Doug "Folks" Ford have seen the Progressive Conservatives take up much of the limelight thus far.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath changed that this weekend with a series of head-turning platform propositions.

"We are going to make sure every working person in Ontario has dental benefits," she told supporters at a campaign-style event in Toronto on Saturday. "And we will make the largest investment in public dental coverage in Ontario's history."

That's right – if the New Democratic Party forms a government following Ontario's general election on June 7, we'll all get free dental care. The proposed plan, pegged at $1.2 billion, would be the largest investment in dental care in the province's history.

We'll also get free prescription drugs, according to Horwath – as in all of us, aged zero to infinity. The Liberal government's OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare, introduced in January, currently covers prescription medications for people under the age of 25 only.

"It's a prescription drug plan for everyone, no matter how old you are, no matter where you work, no matter how much money you make," Horwath said of what her party is calling "Canada's first universal pharmacare plan."

Saturday's event only previewed the NDP's full campaign platform, however. More about how the government would pay for these types of services will be released in the coming weeks.

Additional promises from Horwath's speech include lower health-care wait times, raise taxes on corporations, de-privatizing Hydro One and converting provincial student loans into grants that will not have to be repaid.

The NDP has historically been a third-place party in both the federal and provincial systems, so a win for Horwath over Ford or current Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne would mark a major political upset.

Still, anything is possible – especially given how raucous and unusual Ontario politics have been this year already.

Lead photo by

Andrea Horwath


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