Making Dental Care More Affordable: The Canada Dental Benefit
Seeing a dentist is important for our health, but it can be expensive. A third of Canadians currently do not have dental insurance, and in 2018, more than one in five Canadians reported avoiding dental care because of the cost.
For these reasons, the government has previously committed to providing dental care for uninsured Canadians with a family income of less than $90,000 annually, starting with children under 12-years-old in 2022.
This is the first stage of the government’s plan to deliver dental coverage for families with income under $90,000, and will allow eligible children under 12 to get the dental care they need while a comprehensive national dental care program is developed.
The Canada Dental Benefit
The proposed Canada Dental Benefit would provide eligible parents or guardians with direct, up-front tax-free payments to cover dental expenses for their children under 12-years-old.
The target implementation date for the Canada Dental Benefit is December 1, 2022, pending Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent of enabling legislation, and the program would cover expenses retroactive to October 1, 2022.
The Canada Dental Benefit would provide payments up to $650 per child per year for families with adjusted net income under $90,000 per year and without dental coverage.
- $650 would be provided for each eligible child if the family’s adjusted net income is under $70,000.
- $390 would be provided for each eligible child if the family’s adjusted net income is between $70,000 and $79,999.
- $260 would be provided for each eligible child if the family’s adjusted net income is between $80,000 and $89,999.
It is estimated that 500,000 Canadian children would benefit from this targeted investment of $938 million.
To access the Benefit, parents or guardians of eligible children would need to apply through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). In addition, they would need to attest that:
- Their child does not have access to private dental care coverage;
- They will have out of pocket dental care expenses for which they will use the Benefit;
- They understand they will need to provide documentation to verify out of pocket expenses occurred (e.g. show receipts), if required.
Health Canada and the CRA are collaborating closely on an application platform that would deliver payments in a timely fashion. Further details on how and when to apply for the Benefit will be communicated in due course.
The Canada Dental Benefit would not reduce other federal income-tested benefits such as the Canada Workers Benefit, the Canada Child Benefit, and the Goods and Services Tax Credit.
A long-term dental care program in Canada
The federal government remains committed to providing dental care to Canadians, and continues to take needed steps to build a comprehensive national long-term dental care program. Provinces and territories and private industry have been engaged about the design and timelines of such a program. The federal government remains committed to full implementation of a dental care program for households with incomes under $90,000 by 2025.
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