Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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The central phone line is 705-721-7520 ext. 8533

Board meeting notes, Jan. 15, 2020

Jan 28, 2020
Board of Health chair and vice-chair acclaimed; Gravenhurst dental clinic expanding to improve access for eligible seniors

Board of Health chair and vice-chair acclaimed

Anita Dubeau, Town of Penetanguishene Deputy Mayor, has been acclaimed as chair of the Board of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Ralph Cipolla, City of Orillia Councillor, has been acclaimed as vice-chair of the board. Election of the two executive positions to the Board of Health is conducted annually at the first board meeting of the year.

The Board of Health is currently made up of 14 members: elected representatives from the County of Simcoe, the District of Muskoka, the City of Barrie and the City of Orillia. There are also currently five provincial appointees. More information about the Board of Health can be found on the health unit’s website,

Gravenhurst dental clinic expanding to improve access for eligible seniors

Seniors eligible for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Plan, initially introduced in the 2019 budget by the Ontario government, will soon have better access to dental services with an expansion of the health unit’s Gravenhurst dental clinic. Colleen Nisbet, SMDHU’s Vice President, Clinical Service Department, updated the board on plans for the expansion, which will add two new operatories, a charting/x-ray processing room, a small consult room and a lab to the current clinic, as well as an accessible washroom. The expansion is needed because the health unit’s Barrie and Gravenhurst clinics, which also service children on the Healthy Smiles Ontario program and adults on publically funded dental programs, are at capacity. Infrequent availability of appointments for seniors is a challenge, given an anticipated 3,600 seniors will want to access service from the new program.

The expansion is being covered by a provincial one-time capital grant of $257,500. The board approved the additional use of capital reserve funds of up to $257,500 for costs that may be incurred beyond the provincial completion deadline of March 31, 2020, while seeking reimbursement from the province for any additional costs.

Many seniors experience a significant burden of oral health diseases and have difficulty affording dental care in Simcoe Muskoka. In order to be eligible for the program, seniors must be residents of Ontario, 65 years and older, with an income of $19,300 or less, or a couple with a combined annual income of $32,300 or less, who do not have dental benefits (e.g., through private insurance or other government programs). More about the health unit’s dental program can be found here.  

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the board of health takes place on Feb. 19 at 9:15 a.m. in the Barrie office, 15 Sperling Drive.

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