June 25, 2024 – Ottawa, ON: The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) welcomes the federal government’s recent changes to the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), which address key concerns of dentists. Over the past year, CDA and the provincial and territorial associations have advocated for changes to the CDCP. Our goal has always been to make sure the plan improves access to care for people without dental benefits.

The federal government has improved the plan over the last year and the CDA recognizes these efforts, including simplifying the terms and conditions providers must agree to, and improving what treatments will be covered for eligible patients. More recently, the federal government has addressed some of our other key concerns about patient privacy, committed that unilateral changes will not be imposed on dentists, and provided details around how the CDCP will work. These changes will help the plan better address patients’ needs and we are optimistic they may potentially encourage more dentists to consider participation. Individual dentists will decide whether CDCP is right for their practice and for their patients.

“CDA is encouraged to see that the federal government has worked on and heard some of our immediate concerns regarding CDCP,” says Dr. Joel Antel, CDA President. “While acknowledging the progress made so far, no public plan is perfect and there is still work to be done in the medium to long term to benefit Canadians over time. CDA will continue advocating for these changes and looks forward to working in partnership with the federal government.”

One urgent area for improvement is the federal government’s public communication about the CDCP. Our public opinion research found that 61% of seniors have not heard about the co-payment requirement based on income for the CDCP. Further, 60% of the public think communication about what services are covered is not clear. Public misunderstanding is already adding extra pressure at dental offices and undermines patient care. Some dental offices are spending close to one hour per day explaining the CDCP to patients, time that could be better spent on providing dental care. To that end, CDA recently launched a public education program to address misconceptions Canadians have about the CDCP. We want to ensure the best possible experience when patients visit dental offices.

To help ensure all people living in Canada receive the oral health care they need, especially those most vulnerable such as seniors, children and people with disability, some other key areas will need to be addressed over the long term:

  • Mitigating the potential loss of insurance coverage for those with existing employer-provided dental benefits.
  • Addressing health human resources challenges.
  • Improving CDCP service coverage.
  • Implementation of preauthorization requirements in November.

CDA has stated many times how the CDCP represents a significant opportunity to improve the oral health of those living in Canada and has been advocating for federal investments in oral health care for many years. As we move forward, CDA reaffirms its commitment to working closely with the federal government to advance the common goal of improving access to oral health care for those who are uninsured. Together, we can help ensure that patients receive the best quality care they need, while oral health providers are supported in delivering vital services to communities across Canada.

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:
Jeff D’Andrea
Media Relations Specialist
Canadian Dental Association