Two non-profit dental clinics in Surrey are part of a three-year funding strategy to help “more British Columbians with low incomes receive much-needed dental care.”
Announced Wednesday (May 4), the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty reduction said not-for-profit clinics will receive $2.8 million in funding.
Surrey’s Lookout Dental Clinic and Pacific Oral Health Society are just two of the 21 clinics throughout the province included in the announcement.
Lookout Dental Clinic, located at 10697 135A St. in Whalley, is operated by Lookout Housing and Health Society. It offers a 20 per cent reduction in fees to cash payment and insured dental plans, and accepts “all dental plans and MSP plan without charging extra fees.”
According to Lookout, the clinic was opened in response to a 2008 study identifying low-income people “face significant barriers in getting access to dental treatment even where the person qualifies for income assistance.”
It runs Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Pacific Oral Health Society, located at 300-15850 24 Ave. in South Surrey, offers a 30 per cent reduction in fees. A notice of assessment is required for discounted rates.
According to POHS, at one time there was “but one dental clinic with one dental chair functioning on a part-time basis (Peace Arch Volunteer Clinic in White Rock) to serve the needs of the population of Surrey, Delta and White Rock.”
The “demand for dental care was tested” on Dec. 4, 2010 when Dr. Harinder Dhanju organized a small group of dentists and dental team. More than 350 people showed up.
The ministry release notes that in 2021, not-for-profit clinics provided dental care for people with low incomes for free or at a reduced rate more than 47,000 times.
“Everyone should be able to visit the dentist and money shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing that care,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Having healthy teeth is about confidence, dignity and overall well-being. While we look forward to details on how Ottawa will join us in providing this critical service, we’re building a stronger province for everyone by making sure all British Columbians can put their best smile forward.”
Earlier this year, the federal government – as part of an agreement between the Liberals and the NDP– announced it would be launching a new dental program in 2022, starting with children under the age of 12 at an initial cost of $300 million.
– With file from The Canadian Press