Question Period Note: DENTAL CARE


Reference number:
Date received:
Dec 13, 2023
Privy Council Office
Name of Minister:
Trudeau, Justin (Right Hon.)
Title of Minister:
Prime Minister

Suggested Response:

• Access to quality oral health care is an integral part of overall health. One third of the people living in Canada do not have dental insurance. Delaying care can have wide-reaching impacts, including more expensive treatments and worsening health outcomes. 
• The Canadian Dental Care Plan is a historic new investment. We estimate that the CDCP will help ease financial barriers to accessing oral health care for up to 9 million Canadian residents.
• By starting with seniors, and then moving to adults with disabilities and children, we are starting with those who have the highest unmet oral health needs. By 2025, applications will be open for all eligible Canadian residents.

• The Canadian Dental Care Plan is a national program that will be implemented simultaneously across all thirteen provinces and territories. The Government of Canada has been and will continue to engage and collaborate with all provinces and territories, and other key partners, to guarantee a successful launch of the Plan.
• The Canadian Dental Care Plan is intended to help those who currently have no way to access coverage, not to replace current employer responsibilities toward their employees or private dental insurance.
• Many of these individuals will likely be accessing dental care for the first time.


Budget 2023 announced $13.1 billion over five years and $4.4 billion ongoing for the Canadian Dental Care Plan. It also allocated $250 million over three years, starting in 2025-26, and $75 million ongoing to Health Canada to establish an Oral Health Access Fund. The fund will complement the Canadian Dental Care Plan by investing in targeted measures to address oral health gaps among vulnerable populations and reduce barriers to accessing care, including in rural and remote communities. Lastly, Budget 2023 provided $23.1 million over two years, starting in 2023-24, to Statistics Canada to collect data on oral health and access to dental care in Canada, which will inform the rollout of the Canadian Dental Care Plan.
Budget 2022 previously announced $5.3 billion over five years and $1.7 billion ongoing. A portion of these funds were allocated to launch the Canada Dental Benefit, a direct payment totalling up to $650 per year per child under 12 years of age. Applications for the first benefit period became available on December 1, 2022, and the second-year applications launched on July 1, 2023.
Current Dental Care Programs in Canada
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, approximately $17.6 billion was spent on dental services in 2021: 94% from private sector or out-of-pocket spending and 6% from public sector spending through existing federal and provincial plans.
New results released by Statistics Canada earlier this month show that, in 2022, more than one third of Canadians reported that they had not visited a dental professional in the past 22 months. The findings also show that just under half (49%) of Canadians in the lowest income quintile reported having seen a dental professional in the past 12 months compared with 73% of those in the highest income quintile.
Private dental insurance plans and government social dental programs help reduce out-of-pocket dental expenses. However, over one third (35%) of Canadians reported not having had any dental care expenses covered by a private or public dental insurance plan.
Provinces and territories provide coverage for medically necessary oral health services. In addition, all provinces and territories offer some form of public dental coverage, although these programs are generally targeted at a particular group (e.g., people with low incomes, children, or seniors) and vary widely in coverage across the country. Health Canada is currently engaging provinces and territories to help identify the process for the coordination of benefits between the CDCP and provincial and territorial publicly funded programs, to ensure no duplication of coverage and no gaps in care.
The Government of Canada also provides dental coverage for public servants, members of the Armed Forces and veterans, people incarcerated in federal correctional facilities, some newcomers, registered First Nations people and recognized Inuit.

Additional Information: