Green Shield commits an additional $10 million to boost access and coverage for oral health care for low-income, underserved communities across Canada while the federal plan rolls out
TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2022
One in three Canadians lack coverage for dental care; medical research shows a link between poor oral health and other chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, and poor socioeconomic outcomes.
TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2022 /CNW/ - Green Shield, a not-for-profit social enterprise, is committing a total of $10 million over the next three years to help boost access to oral health care services for low-income and underserved communities, as part of its mission to support 'Better Health for All'. Combined with existing investments, this future commitment brings Green Shield's funding for oral health to over $20 million in seven years. Impacting communities and individuals across Canada, these funds include a host of grants and partnerships supporting access to care through community clinics, oral health education and service navigation, and arms-length independent evaluation research conducted by universities.
"Oral health care is a critical aspect of health care, and yet equitable access to oral health care remains precarious for many, including those who face physical barriers in accessing care, lower-income Canadians, and members of vulnerable populations. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, Green Shield is committed to improving health outcomes for Canadians as part of our social mission of better health for all," said Zahid Salman, President and CEO of Green Shield. "Through our efforts to improve access to oral care, Green Shield has impacted over 35,000 Canadians. We continue to fund oral care clinics and vital oral health research with partners to help ensure all Canadians have equitable access to oral health care services."
Currently, one in five Canadians avoid visiting a dental clinic due to cost, and approximately one-third of Canadians lack dental insurance coverage. However, oral health care plays a significant role in the overall health of individuals and impacts health outcomes, as medical research shows a link between poor oral health and other chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Filling this gap by investing in oral health partnerships, Green Shield's mandate includes helping frontline clinics provide no-cost dental care to those in need while supporting research and advocacy efforts by identifying the impacts of access to dental care. This ladders into the company's mission of delivering meaningful solutions to improve health and well-being by reinvesting profits into communities as a not-for-profit social enterprise.
Green Shield expanded its oral health care social impact program in 2020 with an investment in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto to fund the Green Shield Canada Clinic.
To improve access and coverage across the country, from coast to coast, Green Shield's impact includes investments in:
- Alberta: Green Shield has partnered with organizations in Calgary and Red Deer to support projects like the delivery of mobile oral health services to youth and the expansion of community clinics.
- British Columbia: In Victoria and Vancouver, oral health initiatives help vulnerable women access dental care in a safe environment and increase access to oral health care and education for newcomers.
- Manitoba: Low-income individuals and seniors in Winnipeg will now be able to better access dental services thanks to Green Shield's investment in local dental initiatives.
- Nova Scotia: In the Halifax area, the company's support helps low-income and people with disabilities access critical oral health care in a safe and supportive setting.
- Ontario: Green Shield has made significant contributions to oral health projects across Ontario, ranging from Kenora to Toronto, Niagara Falls and Windsor. These projects help low-income individuals, vulnerable women, racialized communities, newcomers, and other marginalized communities obtain dental care.
- Quebec: Recent major contributions to organizations in Montreal and Quebec City have helped to expand access to care for people who cannot afford to pay for dental services.
- Saskatchewan: Rural, remote, and Indigenous communities often do not have equitable access to care, which is why Green Shield has funded programs that help deliver mobile oral health services and education in the province.
To spotlight one collaboration, Green Shield recently partnered with the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences at McGill University to fund the construction of a second clinic at Welcome Hall Mission and cover the costs of care. In 2019, one in five people on the island of Montreal lived in poverty. Of these, 40% were employed and many others were students or retired.
"Welcome Hall Mission is responding to a significant increase in need for all our services. Our free dental clinic cannot keep up with the growing demand" says its CEO Sam Watts. "The need for quality oral healthcare has continued to grow. Increases in the cost of basic items like food and rent causes people to make difficult choices. Being able to increase our capacity will provide more people with access to basic dental care and it will save the healthcare system money in the long term."
Green Shield plans to make investments in oral health to bridge the gap in access to services for underserved Canadians until the federal dental care plan is fully implemented.
To learn more about Green Shield's contributions to oral and dental care, please visit www.greenshield.ca/en-ca/green-door-project.
With an unwavering focus on better health outcomes, Green Shield is bringing all its offerings together into one integrated health services organization, to optimize care and deepen its social mission. As Canada's first and only payer-provider, Green Shield is pairing its 65 years of health and dental insurance expertise as a benefits 'payer', with ever-growing capabilities as a mental health, pharmacy and medical services 'provider.' This integrated approach makes it easier for clients to support their employees and Canadians to access the personalized health care they need. Green Shield's new model is a pathway to better health for all – the centrepiece of the organization's social mission. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, Green Shield gives back to local communities and underserved populations by reinvesting in key areas of need, including oral health and dental care. The synergies of this model will continue to accelerate Green Shield's overall social impact into the future, including a 5-year investment of $75 million by 2025.
SOURCE Green Shield Canada