Every year, the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) lobbies at the national level for federal tax initiatives and programs to have positive outcomes on oral health care, dental practices and the dental profession.
One of CDA’s key annual advocacy activities is Dentists on the Hill. CDA works closely with cabinet ministers, critics, parliamentary secretaries and committee members who influence decision-making within the federal government.
- The CDA’s advocacy efforts ensure that oral health care remains a recognizable and significant public health issue. CDA informs key decision-makers about matters that impact dentistry and the oral health of all of Canada’s populations.
2019 Days on the Hill
As part of ongoing engagement with Members of Parliament, Senators, and senior government officials, CDA annually conducts Days on the Hill, a two-day series of meetings between these representatives and dentistry’s leadership and advocacy volunteers.
This year’s event was held on May 14th and 15th in Ottawa. CDA president, Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Mutchmor, led the CDA delegation of elected officers, committee members and staff to bring oral health care issues to the attention of senior government officials on Parliament Hill.
Funding for public oral health programs, pharmacare, dental offices as small businesses and Indigenous children’s oral health topped the CDA’s topics of discussion in over 30 meetings held with parliamentarians.
The CDA acknowledges the government’s commitment to a renewed Health Accord with the provinces. In future discussions around health transfers to the provinces, the CDA encourages a long-term approach for dedicated funding to help support, enhance and expand oral health care programs in the provinces.
The Canadian Dental Association meets with the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health (May 2019)
(l-r): Mr. Don Moors, Dr. Jim Armstrong, Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Mutchmor, Dr. Michael Sullivan.
Without clean drinking water, there cannot be good oral health in indigenous communities. The CDA’s delegation met with parliamentarians and senior officials to recognize the federal government’s advancements made to remove boil water advisories in Indigenous communities. The delegation also encouraged members of all parties to continue to ensure that this progress is not lost, and that long-term solutions that involve indigenous communities should continue to ensure that they all have access to clean drinking water.
The CDA supports long-term and sustainable water infrastructure solutions that are community-based. Clean drinking water should be accessible to everyone in Canada.
CDA’s discussions focused on the proposed pharmacare program, and the CDA recommendation that any new national program should work harmoniously with employee health benefits, and target the gaps for those who don’t have coverage- including vulnerable populations.
- CDA advocates that a key aspect of any model of pharmacare must focus on sustainability. This will help ensure that the current system of private coverage that serves the majority of Canada’s populations will be maintained, while addressing gaps in the current system.
Publicly Funded Oral Health Care Programs
The CDA discussed the growth in usage of publicly funded oral health care programs in children and individuals with mobility, developmental, physical and mental health challenges.
- CDA advocates for specific funding envelopes to the provinces, targeting critical oral health care programs to help meet the needs of vulnerable populations.
CDA Annual Parliamentary Reception
CDA’s Annual Parliamentary Reception brought together MPs with a direct or family connection to the dental profession. CDA thanks MP Harold Albrecht for hosting the event on May 15, 2019.
The Canadian Dental Association’s Annual Parliamentary Reception (May 2019)
(l-r): MP Harold Albrecht, MP David Tilson, Dr. Daniel Albert, Dr. David Zaparinuk