Toward a Universal Dental Care Plan: Policy Options for Canada
21 June 2023
Flood is the Research Chair in Health Law and Policy in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa and the incoming dean of the Faculty of Law at Queen's University. [...] The deal struck provided for the introduction of a new dental care program in phases, first for Canadian children under 12 years old from households with incomes of less than $90,000 by the end of 2022; then for those under 18 years of age, seniors and people with disabilities by the end of 2023; and finally, to households earning under $90,000 by the end of 2025. [...] A strengthened data infrastructure for oral health will enable federal, provincial and territorial governments and the public to monitor progress toward improved access and outcomes, and support independent research to establish a core set of medically necessary dental care services and evaluate the impacts of coverage expansions, considering the perspectives of communities, patients and families,. [...] The advantage of a CHA approach is that it creates national standards, but the provincial and territorial governments remain responsible for the day-to-day governance, regulation, administration and delivery of the plan that can be better tailored to the different needs of their respective populations. [...] However, over time, it has become clear that some of the principles of the CHA are not being met by current arrangements — for example, “reasonable access” — and that the splintering of accountability means that the public is unsure which level of government is responsible for the inadequacies of the health care system.