Premier Dalton McGuinty said a program that offers free eye tests and glasses to three and four-year-olds will be available at 14 school boards this year, up from nine boards last year.
While eye testing is already covered by OHIP for Ontarians aged 19 or under, parents usually have to spend about $130 on a dispensing fee and then pay for the glasses as well, McGuinty said Monday during a visit to Robertson Public School.
“So some parents might say, ‘I think she’s got a problem, but if I bring her in that $300 and I don’t have $300,’” McGuinty said. “We’re saying don’t worry about that. We’ve got you covered.”
The program will cost Ontario taxpayers $200,000 a year, in addition to the OHIP eye test fees.
The Ontario Association of Optometrists and private sector eyewear companies are contributing about $5 million a year, McGuinty said.
The McGuinty government is promising to expand the program to all 68 school boards in the province by 2015 to reach 120,000 kids.
The government says that one in six children has a vision problem, yet 80% do not get vision tests before age five.
When fully implemented, the program will provide eyeglasses to an estimated 14,000 students a year.
It was not immediately known which additional school boards would get it.
The McGuinty government provides free eye tests for kids and teens, seniors and diabetics, but delisted routine eye exams for most adults early in its first mandate.
NDP Health Critic France Gelinas said the government is talking out of both sides of its mouth, claiming to care about eye health but refusing to cover exams for most other Ontarians.
“Why is it that our eyes and our teeth are not included into medicare is something that cannot be explained,” she said.
This school program is good news for parents of children entering JK but is basically unfair because it does not provide any help to older kids, she said.
A child who needs a wheelchair gets financial support from the government with the cost but most parents are left to scramble to cover the high cost of glasses on their own, Gelinas said.
“It cannot be defended on a health basis, it can only be explained on a political basis,” she said. “And health policies based on politics never work.”
commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
The McGuinty government needs to end its war on men, to end its
Concentration Camps for men run by the Ontario Gestapo, the Family
Responsibility Office whose campaign of terror has everything to do with
assisting mothers to end children's relationships with their parents and to
impoverish fathers to prevent them being able to litigate or be a father.
The Ontario Warn on Men is a form of Male Sharia Law, its forced Eugenics
that alleges that men without money as a result of a vindictive first wife
should not remarry or have further children.It's sick, its an offense to the
fundamental principles of justice and we need a Reform of Family Law.
McGuinty is just part of the Legal Cartel whose interests he represents and
which have nothing to do with the best interests of children. This is a
Cheap publicity stunt. Ontario.