April 16, 2024 – Ottawa, ON: Today, the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) provided the following statement regarding the Federal Budget 2024 and the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP).

“CDA is committed to working with the federal government to maximize the CDCP, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance Canadians’ access to oral health care,” says Dr. Joel Antel, CDA President for 2024-25. “However, we must get it right from the start. We have been sharing recommendations with the federal government over the past year to improve the program and promote better access to care for patients.”

The federal government released the 2024 Federal Budget entitled “Fairness For Every Generation.” The budget includes important measures in key areas including $253.8 million over 4 years to expand the Canada Student Loan Forgiveness Program to include more health care professionals working in rural and remote communities, including dentists. “CDA applauds the federal government for supporting dentists working in rural and remote areas,” says Dr. Antel. “As part of our advocacy through the Extended Healthcare Professionals Coalition, CDA has been calling on the government to expand the program beyond doctors and nurses.”

The federal budget also includes important measures addressing other CDA priority areas, including $1 billion for the creation of a National School Food Program, increasing the tobacco and vaping excise duty rates, and investing to support internationally trained health workers in navigating the credential recognition systems.

The government took this year’s budget to highlight its accomplishment and investment in CDCP. CDA and the provincial and territorial dental associations are supportive of the CDCP but are encouraging the government to ensure that the CDCP works like other typical dental plans for patients and providers. The federal government is working towards providing solutions through alternative participation pathways, and we look forward to reviewing the details. In its current state, the CDCP needs several improvements to encourage dentists to participate and provide care for eligible patients. We asked nearly 4,000 dentists if they support the CDCP, and the results raise concerns. Seven in 10 dentists oppose the CDCP in its current form. Low provider participation will jeopardize eligible Canadian residents’ ability to receive care under the CDCP.

In February 2023, CDA presented the federal government with a policy paper which was meant to serve as a roadmap to enhance access to dental care for all Canadians. Although the government accepted some of CDAs recommendations, others were not addressed.

CDA believes that a federal dental plan should not disrupt Canada’s existing oral health care system. This includes safeguarding patients’ access to dental care by respecting the current workplace, school and/or group dental plan system.

“CDA has long advocated for targeted investments to improve access to oral health care and the CDCP has the potential to make a real difference in oral and overall health for Canadians,” says Dr. Antel.

“Vulnerable Canadians who need oral health care should have the same experience as all Canadians. This means that CDCP should work like any other dental plan and that patients should be able to choose their own dentist without limitations,” he says. “As the primary oral health care providers, dentists see first-hand the impact of poor oral health. We believe that oral health is health, and we want this program to work for the many Canadians who need access to dental care, but changes are urgently needed. We look forward to continued collaboration with the federal government to ensure that this program starts successfully.”

Media Contact:
Jeff D’Andrea
Media Relations Specialist
Spécialiste des relations avec les médias
Canadian Dental Association

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.