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Canadian Dental Care Plan For Oral Health

Oral health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Regular visits to an oral health professional have proven to reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and other serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Yet, a third of the people living in Canada do not have dental insurance. In 2022, one in four Canadians reported avoiding visiting an oral health professional because of the cost.

In December, the Government of Canada announced the details of the upcoming roll-out of the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP).

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Once fully implemented, the CDCP will help ease financial barriers to accessing oral health care for up to nine million uninsured Canadian residents with an annual family income of less than $90,000.

“The Canadian Dental Care Plan will be transformative for our country,” says Minister of Health Mark Holland.

“It will significantly improve health outcomes, reduce a burden on our health care system, and build a foundation of equity by expanding access to oral health care for the millions of Canadians that currently do not have access to this critical care. The Government of Canada is making life more affordable by helping families and their loved ones.”

Oral Health For Seniors

To meet demand and ensure a smooth process, the CDCP will roll out using a phased approach over the coming months, starting with seniors.

“Dental care shouldn’t be a luxury. It’s basic health care,” says Minister of Labour and Seniors Seamus O’Regan Jr.

“Seniors are often on fixed incomes and have more health care bills, so they’re a priority in our dental plan. We want every Canadian to age in health, in comfort and in dignity.”

Applications will first open for seniors aged 87 and above in December 2023. Expanding in phases to those aged 77 to 86 in January 2024, followed by those aged 72 to 76 in February 2024, then those aged 70 to 71 in March 2024. Individuals in these age groups who may be eligible will receive letters inviting them to apply. Instructions on how to validate their eligibility and apply by telephone will be included.

In May 2024, applications will shift to an online portal and will open for eligible seniors 65 and older.

Oral Health For Children

Persons with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and children under the age of 18 will be able to apply online starting June 2024. All remaining eligible Canadian residents between the ages of 18 and 64 will be able to apply online starting in 2025.

Canadians enrolled in the CDCP will be able to start seeing an oral health provider as early as May 2024. The start date to access oral health care will vary based on when each group can apply, when the application is received and when enrolment is completed. This coverage start date, details of coverage and member card will be sent by Sun Life, the contracted service provider, in a welcome package.

What’s Covered

A wide range of oral health care services will be covered under the CDCP. Examples of these services include preventive care such as scaling (cleaning) and polishing. Other services such as exams, x-rays, fillings, removable dentures and root canal treatments will be available. As part of a continuous improvement approach, the CDCP will do regular reviews. This will be based on data and evidence to ensure it meets the needs of Canadians.

Oral health professionals are vital in delivering oral health care, and this plan will allow more Canadians to receive treatment. Resources and tools on how to assist and inform their patients about the CDCP will be provided to the oral health professional community.

For more information on the CDCP, eligibility, the application roll-out and examples of what benefits will be available, visit canada.ca/dental.

Quick Facts

The Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) will be administered by Health Canada. In collaboration with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), through Service Canada and Sun Life.

Budget 2023 announced an investment of $13 billion over five years. Starting in 2023–24, and $4.4 billion ongoing, to implement CDCP.

The estimated value of the contract with Sun Life is $746,698,598.22. The duration of the contract is five years. It includes two 24-month option periods and one 12-month option period, for a total of five additional option years.

The Canada Dental Benefit will continue to support families with children under the age of 12 until June 30, 2024. Parents and caregivers can apply for the CDCP for children under the age of 18 as of June 2024.

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