The Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), first proposed by the federal government in 2022, is not far away from becoming available to more Canadians. The federal government has yet to unveil the full details of how this new program will be implemented.
Since the CDCP was first announced, dentists across Canada have been working hard to ensure this plan will improve access to dental care and respects patients, care providers and taxpayers. However, dentists are in the dark about the following aspects of the CDCP:
- How will it protect the employer-provided dental plans that nearly two-thirds of Canadians currently have access to?
- Can the CDCP be coordinated to work with existing provincial dental programs?
- Will the CDCP respect the patients’ choice of dentist and encourage a positive and healthy patient-provider relationship?
- Will it be easy for patients and dentists to use the program?
- Will the government work to increase the number of dental assistants and dental hygienists to meet the demands of the CDCP?
The CDCP is in its final planning stages, with a potential roll-out in 2024 that will try to increase access to dental care for uninsured Canadians under 18, people with disabilities, and seniors who have an annual income of less than $90,000. Good oral health directly affects a person’s overall health; so while increased access to dental care is welcome, the CDCP has to be done right.
If not done properly, two-thirds of Canadians who have great employer-provided dental plans could lose their coverage and be forced into a worse plan. Costs would then skyrocket, which means the $13 billion over five years the government set aside would not be enough to sustain the CDCP.
Until these concerns are addressed, dentists support an expansion of the Canada Dental Benefit, which establishes a fixed dollar amount that a patient can use to be reimbursed for dental-related expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Canadian dental care plan (Cdcp)
In early 2022, the federal government announced its plans to create a national dental program, the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP). The government committed to:
- providing coverage for children under the age of 12 from uninsured low- and middle-income families by the end of 2022
- including under-18-year-olds, seniors and people with disabilities in 2023, and
- rolling out the program to all eligible Canadians by 2025
The CDCP will be available to families with an annual income of less than $90,000, with no co-pays for those with an annual income under $70,000.
The federal government is working on the details of how to run the CDCP, but announced that it will be administered by Health Canada, with support from a third-party benefits administrator.
In the March 28 federal budget announcement, A Made-In-Canada Plan, the estimated cost of the CDCP has been adjusted to $13 billion over five years, an increase from the original estimate of $5.3 billion when the program was first announced. In addition, an ongoing amount of $4.4 billion is budgeted for Health Canada to cover the plan’s implementation costs.
No. It’s better to continue getting regular dental checkups now to catch problems before they become painful and expensive to treat, and apply for the plan when you are eligible to do so.
We don’t know and this should concern us all. Two-thirds of Canadians have great dental benefits from their work, school, or other group plan. These plans give them a choice of dentist, and the right to choose what dental care they get.
Dentists believe that the CDCP should improve access to care for people who don’t have benefits. It shouldn’t take away the benefits that people already have.
Canada Dental Benefit (CDB)
Families need to meet all of the following conditions for each child they apply for:
- Have a child under 12 years of age with no access to private dental care coverage (employer-based or purchased through the applicant or other family member);
- Have an adjusted family net income under $90,000 per year;
- Have filed last year’s income tax and benefit return (for the taxation year 2021, to be eligible in 2022—for more information on how to file a return, visit Canada.ca/doing-your-taxes);
- Be the parent (or legal guardian) who receives the Canada Child Benefit for that child;
- Have incurred—or will incur—out-of-pocket costs for eligible child’s dental care and have not been fully reimbursed under another federal, provincial or territorial government program; and
- Provide information on the recent or planned oral health care visit that the benefit would pay for, along with information about the oral health care provider.
Use it for any oral health care provided by a regulated oral health professional licensed to practise in the place where care is provided.
The interim Canada Dental Benefit provides up to $650 per child under 12, per year for two years, for families with an adjusted net income under $90,000 per year.
- $650 is provided for each eligible child, per year, if the family’s adjusted net income is under $70,000.
- $390 is provided if the family’s adjusted net income is between $70,000 and $79,999.
- $260 is provided if the family’s adjusted net income is between $80,000 and $89,999.
Your child was born on or after July 2, 2011 (under 12 years old as of July 1, 2023).
The Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) provides direct, up-front, tax-free payments to help cover out-of-pocket dental care expenses for children under 12 years of age who do not have access to private dental insurance and whose family income is less than $90,000 a year. The CDB provides payments of up to $650 for each eligible under 12 years of age, each year for two years.
Yes. We know that provincial and territorial programs do not cover dental care needs for children under 12 equally across Canada, and that in some cases, the programs focus only on emergency needs.
Children under 12 who are currently covered by provincial or territorial programs are still eligible for the interim Canada Dental Benefit so long as they have out-of-pocket costs for dental care services—costs which are not reimbursed under another federal, provincial or territorial government program—and if their family meets all of the criteria to qualify for the benefit.
Families should apply to their provincial or territorial program first (if applicable), and then, if there are remaining out-of-pocket costs that were not reimbursed by their province or territory, they can apply to the Canada Dental Benefit.
However, families whose needs are met by their provincial or territorial programs and do not have out-of-pocket costs are not eligible for the benefit and should not apply.
- A Guide to the Canada Dental Benefit
- Canadian dentists to MPs: We need answers about the Canadian Dental Care Plan (ADA News Release)
- The Government of Canada announces progress on the Canadian Dental Care Plan (Government of Canada)
- Canada Dental Benefit (Government of Canada)
- Making Dental Care More Affordable: The Canada Dental Benefit (Government of Canada)