Oral health advocates in Thunder Bay join Minister Hajdu and MP Powlowski to highlight new dental care benefits in Budget 2023

News release

March 31, 2023 — Thunder Bay, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

Today, oral health advocates joined Patty Hajdu, MP for Thunder Bay – Superior North and Minister of Indigenous Services, as well as Marcus Powlowski, MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River, to highlight the new dental care benefits announced in Budget 2023.

Lynda McKeown, Registered Dental Hygienist, Dr. William Hettenhausen, Founding Officer and Executive Director of Your Teeth For a Lifetime Foundation, and Dr. Derval Clarke, owner of Sovereign Dental joined the MPs to discuss how Budget 2023 will positively impact the health and wellbeing of Canadians in the years ahead through new dental care programs and benefits.

Dental care is an important component of our health, but seeing a dentist can be expensive. Budget 2023 delivers a transformative investment to provide dental care to Canadians who need it, with $13 billion over five years, and $4.4 billion ongoing, to implement the Canadian Dental Care Plan. The plan would provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians with annual family income of less than $90,000, with no co-pays for those with family incomes under $70,000. The plan will begin to roll out in 2023.

Budget 2023 also proposes to provide $250 million over three years, and $75 million ongoing, to establish an Oral Health Access Fund. The fund will complement the Canadian Dental Care Plan by addressing oral health gaps among vulnerable populations and reducing barriers to accessing dental care, including in rural and remote communities.

This builds on the work of the Canada Dental Benefit introduced last year, which is already providing eligible parents or guardians with direct, up-front, tax-free payments to cover the cost of dental care for their children under 12, and has supported more than 240,000 children to date.


“You should not have to be wealthy to have a great smile. With new dental benefits announced in Budget 2023, the federal government is introducing new measures that will benefit so many Canadians in the years ahead. Oral health is part of our overall health and wellbeing. This is about improving healthcare access, healthcare equity, and healthcare affordability”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North

“Unfortunately, many Canadians struggle with the financial cost of dental care. I’m pleased to see this important measure included in the new Federal Budget as it will allow many people to get dental care that they would otherwise be unable to afford.”

Marcus Powlowski, MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River

"The Federal government is to be congratulated for dental care initiative. Oral health is public health. Dental hygienists have long advocated for preventive measures to maintain healthy teeth and gums, reducing need to fix teeth. These measures make economic sense and are a critically important aspect of oral care for vulnerable populations including residents in long term care.”

Lynda McKeown, Registered Dental Hygienist

Quick facts

  • Other proposed measures in Budget 2023 to strengthen health care include:

    • encouraging more doctors and nurses to practise in rural and remote communities  by proposing $45.9 million over four years, with $11.7 million ongoing, to expand the Canada Student Loans program to more rural communities, including all communities with populations of 30,000 or fewer, like Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia. Currently eligible communities with a population over 30,000 will remain eligible until the 2026 Census.
    • providing $158.4 million over three years to support the implementation and operation of 988. As of November 30, 2023, Canadians would be able to call or text 988 at any time to access quality, effective, and immediate suicide prevention and mental health crisis support.
    • providing $36 million over three years to renew the Sexual and Reproductive Health Fund. This fund supports community-based organizations that help make access to abortion, as well as other sexual and reproductive health care information and services, more accessible for vulnerable populations.
    • providing $359.2 million over five years to support a renewed Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, which would guide the government’s work to save lives and protect the health and safety of Canadians.
    • providing $10 million over two years towards ParticipACTION’s Let’s Get Moving Initiative, which will continue supporting national programming that aims to increase daily physical activity among Canadians.

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Media may contact:

Zeus Eden
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

For questions related to Budget 2023, please contact the Department of Finance Canada at mediare@fin.gc.ca.

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