Federal dental plan update

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Carl Hager
Local Journalism Initiative

OTTAWA – The federal government announced, in a mid-December Liberal-NDP event, the arrival of new legislation creating the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP). Canadians “should not be dependent on the ability to pay in order to receive quality oral healthcare” stated the press release about the program.

The plan will be a boon to many low-income Canadians without dental insurance who have not been able to afford dental care. The breadth, scope, and cost of the plan mean that it is being rolled out in stages; dental care becoming part of medicare for the first time in Canadian history.

The legislation has taken about a year to develop. The NDP insisted on dental care being a part of the package that sees the federal Liberal government receiving NDP support in the supply and confidence agreement, the goal making the dental care plan a reality for all Canadians. Dental care has long been an NDP policy plank.

The plan will rollout in stages: seniors aged over 87 received letters in December inviting them to apply for the program. Seniors aged 77 to 86 will receive letters in January, and those aged 72 to 76 in February. These letters will detail eligibility requirements and instructions on how to apply by telephone.

In May, the application process will change to an online method, this for seniors aged 65 to 69.

Persons with a valid Disability Tax Credit and children under the age of 18 can apply in June 2024. In 2025 all other Canadians will be able to apply.

This plan is made available for families with a net income of $90,000 or less.  Families whose income is below $70,000 will have nothing to pay for their dental care. Families with net income between $70,000 and $90,000 will have to pay part of the cost of treatment. The details will be sent out to enrollees as the program is rolled out.

Because the CDCP plan is being implemented under the auspices of the Sun Life Insurance Company, eligible people will receive a welcome package from Sun Life including information on the CDCP, coverage details, membership card and the start of their actual coverage.

Treatments may include teeth cleaning, polishing, x-rays, fillings, and root canal work. Oral health providers who participate in the program may bill the CDCP directly for reimbursement.