$13B dental care plan for millions of uninsured Canadians included in new budget

The 2023 federal budget includes dental care insurance for Canadians with an annual family income of less than $90,000 and for single Canadians earning less than $70,000. (Courtesy: Canva)


Many uninsured Canadians will be eligible for dental coverage under the federal government’s newly released budget. 

On Tuesday, the government announced a new Canadian dental care plan for millions of uninsured Canadians as part of its 2023-24 fiscal budget. 

The budget includes an investment of $13 billion over the next five years to implement the plan. The funding will provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians with an annual family income of less than $90,000 and for single Canadians earning less than $70,000. 

“By the end of 2023, we will begin rolling out a dental-care plan that will eventually cover up to nine million uninsured Canadians,” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a press conference on Tuesday. 

“This will mean that no Canadian ever again will need to choose between taking care of their teeth and paying their bills at the end of the month. It will mean you can’t tell the size of someone’s paycheck by their smile,” she added.

This move comes following the creation of the Canada Dental Benefit last year in September. The benefit opened to Canadians in December 2022 and granted eligible parents a temporary dental benefit for uninsured children under the age of 12 for households earning less than $90,000. 

The benefit has helped more than 240,000 kids receive the dental care they need without hurting the pockets of their guardians. 

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The New Democratic Party (NDP) advocated for a new dental care program as part of their top priorities during the 2022 Supply and Confidence Agreement in partnership with the Liberal Party.. The agreement involved having the support of the NDP on confidence and budgetary matters up until June 2025. 

“Dental care is an important component of our health, but seeing a dentist can be expensive. A third of Canadians currently do not have dental insurance, and in 2018, more than one in five Canadians reported avoiding dental care because of the cost,” the budget reads. 

“Delaying preventative care can have wide-reaching impacts, including costlier treatments, worsening health outcomes, and time away from school and work,” it continued. 

Government officials also recognize other factors that could prevent Canadians from accessing dental care. Factors such as living in remote communities or requiring specialized care due to a disability. 

As a solution, officials have established the Oral Health Access Fund. This fund will complement the Canadian Dental Care Plan by targeting and addressing oral health gaps among vulnerable populations and reducing barriers to accessing care, including in rural and remote communities. 

The new dental care plan will begin coverage by the end of this year and will be administered by Health Canada, with support from a third-party benefits administrator who has not yet been announced. 

This year, the Liberals intend to open eligibility for the dental care plan for those under 18 years of age, seniors and persons living with disabilities. By 2025, they hope to expand the eligibility to all Canadians who meet household income requirements. 

Details on eligible coverage are expected to be released later this year.



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