After months of hard work, meetings with parliamentarians and senior staff in Health and Finance, the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA), representing the sixth-largest regulated health profession in Canada, was excited at yesterday’s announcement about the Government of Canada’s proposed new legislation (Bill C-31) to deliver targeted supports to Canadians as part of its affordability plan.
Measures included the first stage of the government’s plan to deliver dental coverage for families with income under $90,000 under the Canada Dental Benefit which would provide direct payments totalling up to $1,300 per child over the next two years (up to $650 per year) to children under 12 who do not have access to dental insurance, starting October 1. According to the proposed legislation, dental care services mean services provided by dentists, dental hygienists, and denturists.
“Including dental hygienists as service providers will dramatically improve access to care”, states Wendy Stewart, president of CDHA. “With over 30,000 registered dental hygienists in Canada, we offer innovative ways to improve access to care, including clinics, schools, long-term care homes, and mobile settings.” British Columbia dental hygienist Kimberley Laing offers her perspective on how mobile dental hygiene practices that take their services directly to children help families by removing the barrier of parents having to take time off work to bring their child to a dental appointment. “I was just setting up in a daycare last month and out of 12 families we’ve seen, only 2 families had employer-sponsored dental insurance,” says Laing.
CDHA will continue to follow the legislative process closely as the bill goes through several specific stages before it becomes law. Read Bill C-31, An Act respecting cost of living relief measures related to dental care and rental housing.
CDHA is the collective national voice of more than 30,000 dental hygienists in Canada, directly representing 21,000 individual members, including students. Since 1963, CDHA has worked to advance the profession and promote the importance of oral health. Dental hygiene is the sixth-largest regulated health profession in Canada, with professionals working in a variety of settings, including independent dental hygiene practice, with people of all ages, addressing issues related to oral health. For more information on oral health, visit dentalhygienecanada.ca.