In just a few weeks, the federal government is expected to announce the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP). Dentists want to help the government develop a plan that will work well for patients, dental care providers and taxpayers alike.
This week, dental associations across Canada are sharing their collective expertise with all Canadians. A Proposed Framework for the Canadian Dental Care Plan is now available for anyone to read. This comprehensive and actionable framework for a strong dental care program is based on data, research and input from dental experts across regions and specialties. It is a collection of the advice the associations have offered the government over the past few months.
Dentists believe that a strong CDCP should:
- Safeguard access to dental care by respecting the current workplace, school and/or group dental insurance system
- Allow each patient to choose their own dentist in their community
- Ensure people can access the dental care they need without having to deal with needless administrative delays and red tape
- Work with existing government dental programs so people can get the most out of the dental care they’re entitled to
- Fairly compensate the dental professionals who deliver the care
In addition to the Proposed Framework, dentists urge the government to implement a coordinated plan to increase skilled labour for dental offices. There are already serious shortages of dental hygienists and dental assistants across Canada. The CDCP will dramatically increase staffing demands in dental practices. Without enough of these skilled professionals, patients could face delays in getting the dental care they need.
Until the federal government can deliver a strong CDCP, dental associations recommend at least a temporary expansion of an initiative that is already working for Canadians – the Canada Dental Benefit. This is a fixed dollar amount that a patient can use to be reimbursed for dental-related expenses. Nearly nine out of 10 Canadians support the Canada Dental Benefit, and public surveys suggest that most would support an oral health spending account as a permanent solution.
A Proposed Framework for the Canadian Dental Care Plan is now available on the websites of Canada’s provincial and territorial dental associations, including www.oda.ca.
“We all want the same thing – a successful and sustainable Canadian Dental Care Plan. The only way we reach our goal is if dentists and policy makers work together to create a plan that benefits patients, while respecting both providers and taxpayers.” – Dr. Bruce Yaholnitsky, President, Alberta Dental Association