The Liberal government is committed to its promise of delivering on a national dental care program, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday, though she noted that creating new government programs can be complicated.
Asked about concerns voiced by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh about the government's ability to introduce the dental program, Freeland said it was one of the government's pledges in its last budget.
"When it comes to dental care, we made a clear commitment in the budget to provide dental care for children under 12 in families earning $90,000 or less to provide dental care to those children this year," Freeland told reporters after touring an automotive parts company in the Toronto area. "That was a commitment I was glad to make."
"I think that it is very consistent with the values of Canadians. Kids should not have their teeth get rotten just because their parents don't have enough money to pay for them to go see a dentist."
Drawing a parallel between the promised dental program and child care agreements across the country, Freeland said it can sometimes take longer than planned to roll out government initiatives.
"Delivering new services to Canadians is complicated and I think Canadians understand that. We are working very, very hard on dental care."
Freeland's comments come after NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told the Toronto Star that he is prepared to walk away from the confidence and supply deal to support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's minority government if the dental program for children is not implemented by the end of the year.
Singh said he also wanted the government to fulfill a second part of the deal — a $500 top up for those who receive the Canada Housing Benefit.