Below are answers to some frequently asked questions you may have about the Canadian Dental Care Plan and the Canada Dental Benefit.

What is the Canadian Dental Care Plan?

Earlier this year, the federal government announced plans to create the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), providing dental care coverage for households with an annual income of less than $90,000.

The government has committed to starting coverage for kids under the age of 12 from uninsured low- and middle-income families by the end of this year, then include under-18-year-olds, seniors and people with disabilities in 2023. By 2025, all eligible Canadians would be covered under the CDCP.

What is happening with the CDCP now?

The federal government is still figuring out how they’re going to run the CDCP, including how it will be administered, what services will be covered and how this will work with the Ontario government’s existing dental programs.

That’s why the ODA is eager to be a seat at the table with the government to advise them and make this program work for everyone. Dentists are the experts and can give the insight needed to make sure people get the care they need and taxpayer money will be used wisely.

While the CDCP is being developed, the government announced a temporary measure – the Canada Dental Benefit – as a first stage of its plan to deliver dental coverage for children.

What is the Canada Dental Benefit?

The Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) is a temporary measure to provide direct, up-front, tax-free payments to help cover out-of-pocket dental care expenses for children under 12 years of age who do not have access to private dental insurance and whose family income is less than $90,000 a year. The CDB provides payments of up to $650 for each eligible under 12 years of age, each year for two years. Parents and guardians can apply for the CDB if their child is under 12 years of age on December 1, 2022.

Payments will be administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The CRA will use adjusted income to determine eligibility and the amount of benefit you will receive. You need to have filed the previous year’s taxes to be eligible.

The benefit will provide:

  • $650 for each eligible child per year if the family’s adjusted income is under $70,000.
  • $390 for each eligible child per year if the family’s adjusted income is between $70,000 and $79,999.
  • $260 for each eligible child per year if the family’s adjusted income is between $80,000 and $89,999.

The CDB is only available for two periods. The first benefit period covers dental care your eligible child received between October 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. The second benefit period runs from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024 and opens for registration on July 1, 2023.

You can apply to get the payment for each period per eligible child to a maximum of two payments provided you incur out-of-pocket expenses for dental care in each period. The start date for the first benefit period is December 1, 2022.

How do I apply for the CDB?

Applications are now open. The CRA My Account will be the quickest, easiest and most secure way to apply for the CDB. Go to Canada.ca/dental for more information. If you’re unable to apply online, call the CRA at 1-800-715-8836.

You can apply to get the benefit ahead of your child’s dental appointment.

When you apply, you will need to confirm that:

  • Your child does not have access to private dental care coverage.
  • You will have out-of-pocket dental care expenses and will use the CDB to pay for those expenses.
  • You understand that you may have to provide receipts to prove the CDB was used to pay for out-of-pocket dental care expenses.

You will also have to provide the CRA with:

  • The name and address of your child’s dentist or dental hygienist
  • The date (month) of the appointment
  • Information on your employer and your partner/spouse’s employer, if applicable.

Most applicants can expect to receive their payments within five business days if they are enrolled for direct deposit, and within 10-12 business days if they are receiving a cheque by mail.

Once you receive the benefit, you must use it to pay for dental services. If the services in that year cost less than the total benefit amount, the CRA expects you to spend it on the child’s oral health needs in lieu of returning any unused money.

Interim Canada Dental Benefit – walkthrough

Learn how to apply for the Canada Dental Benefit with this video from the Government of Canada.

Watch Now

Are children currently covered under another government program, such as Healthy Smiles Ontario, eligible for the CDB?

You aren’t automatically ineligible for the CDB just because you are covered under another government program, like Healthy Smiles Ontario. The CDB is designed to cover any out-of-pocket dental care expenses for each eligible child that have not been fully reimbursed under another federal or provincial government dental program.

In Ontario, once a dental service has been provided and paid for under a provincial program like Healthy Smiles Ontario, there can be no further billing for the same service. However, if you are willing to pay out of pocket for a service, your dentist may bill you directly for that service and, provided you are eligible for the CDB, you would be able to use the CDB to pay for the service.

Should I wait until the CDCP or CDB is launched to go to the dentist?

Please don’t delay treatments or your dental appointments! It’s better to keep getting regular dental checkups now to catch problems before they become painful and expensive to treat.

We understand you may be thinking of delaying dental care or rethinking your benefit coverage hoping the costs will be covered by the CDCP. But no one knows what services or treatments will be covered, or when that coverage will even start.

For more information on preventing dental problems, visit our Care and Disease Prevention page.

It’s important that I see the dentist, but I can’t afford to. What options do I have?

It’s very important to speak openly with your dentist. They might be able to set up treatment and payment options that work with your financial situation. Give them a call to see what can be done to help.

Some Ontario municipalities have dental programs specifically for people on low incomes. Try contacting your local public health unit; they may be able to help you find resources in your community.