On March 28th, the Canadian Government announced its 2023 Federal Budget, introducing an investment plan aimed at providing dental care to Canadians. The budget aims to address the high costs that prevent Canadians from accessing dental care, the budget proposes an investment of $13.0 billion over a period of five years, starting in 2023-24, and $4.4 billion ongoing to Health Canada for the implementation of the Canadian Dental Care Plan.
Canadian Dental Care Plan
The Canadian Dental Care Plan is expected to provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians with an annual family income of less than $90,000, or for single Canadians earning less than $70,000. The plan is set to begin providing coverage by the end of 2023 and will be administered by Health Canada, with support from a third-party benefits administrator. While details on eligible coverage are yet to be announced, the plan is expected to significantly improve access to dental care for millions of Canadians.
Oral Health Access Fund
In addition to the Canadian Dental Care Plan, Budget 2023 also proposes to allocate $250 million over three years, starting in 2025-26, and $75 million ongoing to Health Canada for the establishment of an Oral Health Access Fund. The fund will work alongside the Canadian Dental Care Plan to address oral health gaps among vulnerable populations and reduce barriers to accessing care, particularly in rural and remote communities.
To ensure the success of the Canadian Dental Care Plan, Statistics Canada will receive $23.1 million over two years, starting in 2023-24, to collect data on oral health and access to dental care in Canada. This data will inform the rollout of the plan, and allow for ongoing evaluation and refinement.
The investments proposed in Budget 2023 will be funded through a combination of sources, including $6 billion over four years, starting in 2024-25, and $1.7 billion ongoing from the existing dental care funding provided through Budget 2022.
It’s worth noting that last year’s budget estimated the cost of dental care at nearly $6 billion over five years, while this year’s budget adds an additional $7 billion for that same period. This significant increase in funding demonstrates the government’s commitment to addressing the issue of dental care in Canada.
Access to affordable dental care is a necessity, not just for children, but for millions of Canadians across the country. The fact that many are forced to forgo much-needed dental care due to its high cost is heartbreaking, and nobody should have to make that decision. The proposed investments in Budget 2023 represent a significant step forward in improving access to dental care in Canada and will have a positive impact on the health and well-being of Canadians for years to come.