November 18, 2022 – Ottawa, ON: Today, Bill C-31, an Act respecting cost of living relief measures related to dental care and rental housing received Royal Assent and became law, which enacts the Canada Dental Benefit (CDB). The CDB is an interim measure which will provide financial support for parents and guardians of children under 12 years old if they receive dental care and do not have access to a private dental insurance plan.

Poor oral health strains other parts of the health care system, whether through hospital visits for dental emergencies, or managing the long-term impact of poor oral health on systemic diseases. This is particularly the case with children since good childhood oral health serves as a foundation for the rest of a person’s life.

“We applaud the federal government’s commitment to deliver on phase-one of its plan to enhance access to dental care, starting with young children,” says Dr. Lynn Tomkins, president of the Canadian Dental Association. “Oral health is an essential component of overall health and visiting the dentist regularly and early in life will help children get started on a pathway to good oral health for a lifetime.”

While Canadians visit the dentist on a regular basis, children continue to have high rates of oral disease. More than six million Canadians each year avoid visiting the dentist because of cost. Although every province and territory in Canada has a publicly funded dental program for children, these programs vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, leaving significant gaps in oral health care for low-income families.

“CDA looks forward to continue collaborating with the federal government on future phases of its plan to help make dental care more affordable for low-income families,” adds Dr. Tomkins. “The phased approach will allow the government to take the time to consult with all relevant stakeholders in developing a long-term solution that is well-informed, targeted, comprehensive, and effective.”

The CDB will provide payments up to $650 per child per year for families with adjusted net income under $90,000 per year and without dental coverage. Parents or guardians of eligible children must apply to receive the CDB through the Canada Revenue Agency. The next phase of the federal government’s program will include children under age 18, seniors, and persons with disabilities. Full implementation of the CDB program should be in place by 2025.

About the Canadian Dental Association
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) is the national voice for dentistry dedicated to the promotion of optimal oral health, an essential component of general health, and to the advancement and leadership of a unified profession. CDA, a non-regulatory authority, is a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization whose corporate members are Canada's provincial and territorial dental associations (PTDAs). CDA represents over 21,000 practising dentists from coast to coast to coast.

Media Contact:
Zelda Burt
Head of Communications
Canadian Dental Association