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.
2021 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 series of meetings between these representatives and dentistry’s leadership and advocacy volunteers.
This year’s event was held on May 10th to 14th and was held virtually. CDA president, Dr. Richard Holden, 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, extended health care benefits for Canadian businesses, enhanced safety in workspaces, support for access to personal protective equipment, 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.
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.
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.
Extended Health Care Benefits for Canadian Businesses
CDA’s discussions focused on the need for extended health care services and the essential role it will continue to have to ensure the ongoing health and wellbeing of Canadians.
CDA advocates for the Federal Government to work together with stakeholders to look for ways to incentivize employers or plan sponsors to maintain or enhance extended health care benefits, and offer similar incentives to Canadians who may choose to sponsor their own benefits.
Enhanced Safety in Workspaces
In the wake of COVID-19, dental offices were required to adapt to new regulatory regimes. This required making physical changes to their offices to ensure enhanced levels of protection for their patients and staff. Capital cost allowances would help alleviate some short-term challenges that frontline health care professional face to ensure Canadian’s health throughout the pandemic.
The CDA supports capital cost allowances and grants to help defray the capital costs involved in enhancing the safety of workspaces and patient care areas in health care offices.
Support for Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Dentistry has been confronted with PPE supply challenges since the onset of the pandemic. CDA recognizes the challenges related to the supply of reasonably priced PPE, the increased demand and the supply chain issues. To ensure Canadians continue to received essential oral health care services, government health care facilities, including the Government of Canada, can leverage their purchasing power to acquire mass quantities (or impose guidelines on supplies that have them) and prioritize delivery of supplies to those entities actively on the front lines of health care delivery, including dentists.
CDA advocates that dentists have continued access to a stable, ongoing supply of reasonably priced PPE, including medical grade masks, N95 respirators and gloves. This assistance should remain dynamic and adjust to the state of PPE availability, as it evolves in the coming years.