February 28, 2023 – Ottawa, ON: Today, the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) released Bridging the Financial Gap in Dental Care: Building a sustainable and effective federally funded program, a policy roadmap for the federal government as it seeks to enhance access to dental care for all Canadians.

“Canada’s historic investment in dental care comes at both an exciting and challenging time for the oral health profession” said Dr. Lynn Tomkins, CDA president. “Dentists understand the challenges our patients face more than anyone. By sharing our profession's unique experiences and extensive knowledge, we aim to ensure the effectiveness of this investment so that it can adequately serve those who need it most.”

As the federal government considers implementation of a new dental care program, it will be critical to maintain primary delivery through Canada’s existing network of dental offices to not disrupt the system many Canadians rely on. By remaining a payer of last resort (i.e., the government program pays only after all other programs have been pursued for payment) and by implementing a system that continues to preserve and promote employer-provided dental coverage, Canada can deliver a program that is sustainable, effective, and accessible to all Canadians.

A federally funded dental care program will require a holistic, patient-centered approach - one that covers the full cost of treatment provided to patients and prioritizes preventative care. To prevent increased wait times, and to ensure Canadians can access the care they need when they need it, a dedicated strategy will be essential to address the current human resource challenges in the oral health sector.

“Dentists see firsthand the impact that poor oral health can have on a person's overall health and are thankful for the opportunity to provide valuable expertise,” said Dr. Tomkins. “We look forward to continued collaboration with Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, and his federal colleagues, to develop an approach that will narrow the gaps in access to dental care, while minimizing disruptions for the majority of Canadians who already have dental coverage.”

Read the CDA’s policy paper here.

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 practicing dentists from coast to coast to coast.

Media Contact:
Zelda Burt
Head of Communications
Canadian Dental Association


  • The policy paper follows the federal government’s commitment to create a long-term dental program, through a historic new investment first announced in Budget 2022.
  • The federal investment in dental care totals $5.3 billion over five years, and came as a result of a Confidence and Supply Agreement between the federal Liberals and National Democratic Party.
  • In November 2022, Bill C-31 enacted the Canada Dental Benefit (CDB), an interim measure that provides 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.
  • The next phase of the federal government’s program will include children under age 18, seniors, and persons with disabilities.
  • Full implementation of the federally funded program should be in place by 2025.