Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Quebec says it is “surprised” that Ottawa made the announcement without prior agreement with the government of François Legault.

Federal government unveils its dental insurance plan

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More than a third of Canadians reported not having consulted a dental professional in 2022, according to Statistics Canada.< /p>

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The federal government lifted the veil Monday on its new dental insurance plan which will come into force gradually from 2024, offering benefits to low- and middle-income Canadians without private insurance. Ottawa says the program will be implemented throughout Canada, but Quebec denounces “intrusions” in its areas of jurisdiction.

Announced during the 2023 budget, with an envelope of $13 billion over five years and $4.4 billion thereafter, this plan will help reduce financial barriers to access to oral health care for nearly 9 million Canadian residents with annual incomes of less than $90,000.

Health Minister Mark Holland made the announcement at a press conference on Monday, alongside Citizen Services Minister Terry Beech, Public Services Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Seniors Minister Seamus O& #x27;Regan.

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Mark Holland, Canadian Minister of Health. (Archive photo)

Officials were keen to emphasize that the implementation of this regime will be carried out in several stages.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">In detail, membership applications will be available from December 18 for people aged over 87 and applications will gradually be opened to other eligible people according to their age group.

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ELSEWHERE ON INFO: Walkouts continue in the Quebec public sector

People aged 77 to 86 will be able to submit a request in January 2024, those aged 72 at 76 years old in February 2024 and people aged 70 to 71 years old in March 2024.

These people will not have to take any action to register for the plan and must receive a letter from Service Canada inviting them to apply.

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Eligibility will gradually expand over the next year to include all eligible people over the age of 65 by May 2024, followed by children under 18 and people with disabilities by June.

The first people enrolled in the program should be able to begin claiming dental services in May. The government signed a $750 million contract with Sun Life Insurance Canada to manage the claims.

The government aims to make the program available to all eligible Canadians in 2025.

Coverage will include prevention, diagnosis, restoration and rehabilitation services. surgery, including x-rays, fillings, root canals and dentures, among others.

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The leader of the New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh. (File photo)

The dental insurance plan is a condition of the support and confidence agreement between the Liberals and the New Democrats, which allows the minority Liberal government to secure the support of the NDP in key votes in the House of Commons.

On Monday, NDP health critic Don Davis welcomed the #x27;announcement in Ottawa. The NDP used its power to deliver dental care to Canadians, Davis said. This is the largest expansion of public health care in Canada in generations, he added.

To be eligible for the federal dental insurance plan, you must:

Residents Canadians who have access to dental benefits under a social program offered by their province or territory and/or the federal government, may be eligible for the new program if they meet all the eligibility criteria.

The question remains of how this regime will be deployed in practice in the provinces and territories, knowing that Quebec has already announced its intention to withdraw from the federal program with compensation of approximately three billion dollars over five years.

Quebec already has a dental care program for children under 10 and recipients of a dental care program ;financial aid.

In an email, the office of the Minister of Health assured Radio-Canada that the federal dental care program will be implemented simultaneously across the 13 provinces and territories. The Government of Canada will continue to work with all provinces and territories, including Quebec, to ensure a successful launch of the plan.

Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, for his part, stressed that this is good news both for Quebecers and for the Quebec government, specifying that there are approximately two million Quebecers who do not do not have access to dental insurance.

Our intention is to fill the gaps, added the Minister of Health.

The government of François Legault nevertheless says it is surprised that Ottawa made the announcement without there being an agreement with Quebec.

We have another example of the federal government which, visibly, cannot help but encroach into Quebec's areas of jurisdiction, Quebec Minister of Canadian Relations and the French Language, Jean-François Roberge, told Radio-Canada. .

The minister says he is willing to improve the program that already exists in Quebec, but believes that the best way to do so is through an increase in health transfers, not through the implementation of a new federal program. which involves significant management costs.

I repeat, Quebec is prepared to negotiate an agreement with the federal government to improve its system while respecting of its areas of expertise, said Mr. Roberge in an email. On the other hand, we cannot tolerate intrusions into our management of the health network.

In addition, the level of federal financial contribution must be commensurate with the additional costs resulting from the care it intends to offer. However, this is not currently the case.

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With information from The Canadian Press

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