The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Healthy Smiles Ontario expands eligibility requirements

WHITBY, ON April 17, 2014 - Effective April 1, the province’s Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program expanded the eligibility requirements providing more families with improved access to oral health services. Enhancements to the program will now see an increase to the adjusted family net income (AFNI), which will help area children and youth from low income families access much needed oral health care. HSO was launched in 2010 as part of the Ontario government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

“When first introduced, families needed to have an adjusted family net income of under $20,000 a year,” explained Brian Convey, Manager, Oral Health with Durham Region Health Department. “With the new eligibility requirements, families now need to have an adjusted family net income of $21,513 or less for one child; this represents an increase of approximately $1,500 per family. The new requirements will also take into account family size, increasing by about $1,500 for each additional child.”

Working with local dentists, the Health Department administers the program in Durham Region. The program is open to Ontario children 17 and under whose family meets AFNI eligibility requirements. To be eligible, families cannot have access to dental or other forms of oral health coverage including, access to other provincial or federal dental programs that provide on-going basic dental care such as Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program and Non-Insured Health Benefits program. Dental services not covered under HSO include cosmetic dentistry, such as teeth whitening, orthodontics or emergency oral health care. Urgent or emergency oral health issues for children 17 and under may be covered through the Children in Need of Treatment (CINOT) program.

To enroll for the HSO program, area families can contact the Health Department’s Oral Health division where staff is available to answer questions and help with the application process. Once a child’s eligibility has been confirmed, Health Department staff will discuss the dental options that are available in the community or at the Health Department’s Oral Health clinic.

For more information about Healthy Smiles Ontario, the Children in Need of Treatment program, or other oral health programs offered by the Health Department, please call Durham Region Health Department at 905-723-1365. Additional information about the program is also available by calling the Service Ontario general line at 1-866-532-3161.


Media inquiries:
Glendene Collins - Health Department 905-668-7711, ext. 2999