Starting on Dec. 1, 2022, families who earn less than $90,000 will qualify for $650 per child under 12 to put toward dental care, Taylor Bachrach, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP, announced Sept. 16.
As this first stage of a new national dental care plan was announced, Bachrach gave his own political party, the NDP, a pat on the back.
“I’m glad we’ve managed to force the Liberals to act on dental care — something both they and the Conservatives voted against only a year ago,” he said. “It’s unacceptable that so many families can’t afford dental care and we aim to change that.”
In March 2022, the NDP and Liberal Party made a mutual agreement, which included a new dental care program for low-income Canadians.
“We will hold the government accountable for its dental care promise,” said Bachrach. “What the NDP is working toward is the biggest expansion of universal health care in a generation and will help millions of Canadians.”
While the program is starting with dental funding for children 11 years old and younger, it will be expanded in 2023 to include youth 17 years old and younger, people with disabilities and seniors.
The full program, which the federal government intends to have in place by 2025, will cover everyone with an annual income of $90,000 or less who does not have private insurance.
One in three Canadians do not have dental insurance, Bachrach stated.
“I hear from so many people in the Northwest who are struggling with the cost of living these days,” he said. “The NDP’s national dental care program is going to help make life more affordable and ensure people get the help they need.”
Demand for dentists is expected to rise with the new and extended accessibility of dental care, Bachrach told The Northern View in March 2022, when the program was first announced.
“Ensuring that we have enough health-care professionals in rural areas can be a real challenge for some communities. So that’s going to be a part of the discussion absolutely. I’m going to be a strong advocate to ensure we have programs in place that ensure that people have access to those professionals,” he said.
With files from Norman Galimski
Kaitlyn Bailey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View