The Globe and Mail’s Rachel Lebovic is at the centre of a growing battle over whether a dentist in a major metropolitan area is being fair to its customers by offering dental care at lower prices than in other areas.
In a story published on Thursday, The Globe detailed an incident in which a resident at a suburban clinic in Toronto told a doctor she couldn’t afford to fill the cavity of her 17-year-old daughter because she doesn’t qualify for a provincial discount for children under six years old.
The story also reported on a case in Calgary, where a dentist told a patient she could not fill a patient’s tooth because she had been working a “low-paying” job.
“I don’t think it’s fair that people that don’t qualify are being denied access to the best dental care,” Dr. Michael J. Brown told the Calgary Herald in a statement.
“That’s why I’m taking the lead on getting rid of this practice.”
In her story, Lebovics said she contacted the provincial health authority to complain about the behaviour.
But in an interview on CBC Radio’s The House on Friday, the Ontario Health Minister said the health authority has “not received any complaints” about the practice.
“We do not have any information on whether there are any cases of that kind of behaviour in the province,” he said.
Lebovicks story comes after a series of similar stories about poor treatment of vulnerable people in Canada’s largest cities.
In December, a woman who was denied a cavity after being admitted to hospital was awarded $1 million in damages by a Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).
In April, a Canadian court ruled against a woman whose tooth was refused because her employer refused to reimburse the dental clinic.
In May, the Supreme Court of Canada heard a case involving a woman and her husband who lost a tooth in a dental procedure at a private clinic.