Provincial health programs and services for seniors

Region: Ontario Answer # 702

Ontario has many programs and services available to residents in the province to help with the cost of everyday and specialized health care. Many are specifically for seniors aged 65 and older. These programs are offered by both the government and other organizations.

Provincial programs and services

Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB)

The Ontario Drug Benefit Program helps seniors aged 65 and older pay for prescription medications. There is no need to enroll. Individuals will receive a letter from the Ontario government approximately three months before their 65th birthday informing them they will automatically join the program on the first day of the month after they turn 65. To be eligible, seniors must have a valid Ontario health card.

Under the ODB, seniors pay a portion of prescription drug costs. How much depends on their income and marital status. For example, a single senior with income above $22,200 a year after taxes, pays:

  • Deductible: the first $100 of total prescription costs each program year (August 1 to July 31 the following year); paid down when prescriptions are filled; and
  • Co-payment: after paying the deductible, up to $6.11 for each prescription, filled or refilled

Some individuals may qualify before they reach 65 if they:

  • live in a long-term care home, home for special care, or Community Home for Opportunity
  • receive professional home and community care services
  • are enrolled in the Trillium Drug Program
  • receive benefits from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program
  • are 24 years of age or younger and are not covered by a private health plan

Low-Income Seniors Co-Payment Drug Program 

The Seniors Co-Payment Drug Program is part of the Ontario Drug Benefit Program and is targeted at low-income seniors. Eligible seniors who enroll in the program pay no annual deductible and a co-payment of up-to $2 for each prescription. To be eligible, you must be:

  • A single senior with an income of less than or equal to $22,200; or
  • A senior couple with a combined income of less than or equal to $37,100.

Trillium Drug Program – help with high prescription drug costs

For those who qualify, the Trillium Drug Program reduces the cost of high prescription drugs to $2 or less for every prescription.

Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP)

The Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program offers free, routine dental care for eligible low-income seniors 65 years or older. To be eligible, seniors must:

  • be a resident of Ontario;
  • have no other form of dental benefits, including private insurance or dental coverage under another provincial program such as Ontario Works; and
  • be a single senior with an income of less than or equal to $22,200; or
  • a senior couple with a combined income of less than or equal to $37,100.

Assistive Devices Program (ADP)

The Assistive Devices Program provides support for individuals who have a long-term physical disability (six months or longer) and provides access to personalized assistive devices. You do not have to be a senior to qualify for the program, just a resident of Ontario with a valid health card.

Free vaccinations

The following vaccines are available for free for adults, including those 65 years of age and older:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (once in adulthood)
  • Tetanus and diphtheria (every 10 years)
  • Flu shot (every fall)
  • Pneumococcal (at age 65)
  • Shingles (one dose between ages 65 and 70)

Health Connect Ontario

Health Connect Ontario is a free, confidential service. Ontario residents can call to get health advice or general health information from a registered nurse who is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 811 or toll-free 1-866-797-0000. The website also allows users to connect via a live chat.

Health Care Connect – find a health care provider

Individuals who do not have a doctor or nurse practitioner can register with Health Care Connect to find one. To qualify, individuals:

  • cannot currently have a family health care provider,
  • have an Ontario Health Card, and
  • have an up-to-date mailing address associated with your health card


ConnexOntario is available to all Ontario residents. It provides information and referral services to access support for mental health and addictions, such as drug, alcohol and problem gambling.

Home and Community Care Support Services

For those who qualify, the Ontario government provides home and community care support services for people of all ages who require care in their home, at school or in the community, paying for a large variety of services. This includes in-home services such as nursing and personal support, physiotherapy, and social work, among others.

Pharmacists can offer prescriptions for 13 common ailments

As of January 1, 2023 under the provincial Pharmacy Act, 1991, pharmacists can prescribe treatment options for 13 of the most common minor medical conditions. There will be no charge for the service.

Pharmacists can offer prescriptions for the following:

  • hay fever (allergic rhinitis);
  • oral thrush (candidal stomatitis);
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis; bacterial, allergic and viral);
  • dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact);
  • menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea);
  • acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD));
  • hemorrhoids;
  • cold sores (herpes labialis);
  • impetigo;
  • insect bites and hives;
  • tick bites (post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease);
  • sprains and strains (musculoskeletal); and
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs).

For more information, visit the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP), the body responsible for governing the profession of pharmacy in Ontario.

National programs and services

Federal Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) for First Nations and Inuit

NIHB provides coverage to registered First Nations and recognized Inuit for a specified range of medically necessary items and services that are not covered by other plans and programs. Coverage includes benefit claims for a certain:

  • drugs
  • dental care
  • vision care
  • medical supplies and equipment
  • short-term crisis intervention
  • mental health counselling
  • medical transportation

Federal Veterans Affairs

Veterans Affairs Canada provides various programs and services to current or former member of the CAF or RCMP, and their family members. This includes financial, mental and physical health, education, and jobs and housing supports.

Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross provides services across Canada. These include:

  • local health services,
  • water safety
  • first aid programs,
  • education on the prevention of violence, and
  • bullying and abuse

Visit redcross.ca to find the services available in your province or territory.

Non-government programs and services

MedicAlert Safely Home / Alzheimer Society of Canada

MedicAlert Safely Home is the product of a partnership between MedicAlert Foundation Canada and the Alzheimer Society of Canada. It provides support for people with dementia who are lost, and members of the community who find them, as well as families and caregivers. The cost for one year of the service is $60. More information on help for individuals living with dementia and their family and caregivers can be found from the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Alzheimer Society of Ontario Finding Your Way Program®

Finding Your Way® supports people living with dementia, their families, caregivers and communities by helping them:

  • recognize the risk of going missing,
  • be prepared for incidents of going missing, and
  • ensuring that people with dementia can live safely in the community.

Red Cross Friendly Calls Program

Adults dealing with anxiety, depression or loneliness can connect with a Red Cross Friendly Calls Program volunteer who will provide social interaction and emotional support through a ‘friendly call”. While the program is available to all Ontario adults, those over 65 are given priority. To register for the program, email ONFriendlyCalls@redcross.ca.

Meals on Wheels (MOW)

Staff and volunteers at Meals on Wheels provide vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities with nutritious meals that are delivered right to their homes.

Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO)

RHO provides education, research, outreach and public policy advocacy to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Visit rainbowhealthontario.ca for more info.

More info

For more information on resources for seniors, view our Seniors / Elder Law section or Links Information is also available from the Government of Ontario’s Guide to programs and services for seniors.

More information on federal health and resources for seniors can be found at Canada.ca.


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