What is the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP)?

Earlier this year, the federal government announced plans to create the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP).

Starting this year, the program would cover dental treatment for kids under the age of 12 from uninsured families earning less than $90,000, with no co-pays for those with an annual income under $70,000. Next year, under-18-year-olds, seniors and people with disabilities would be included. 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.

The federal government’s initial announcement on the CDCP was a $5.3 billion investment over the next five years to launch the program. However, the true cost of the program has been estimated to be more than $9 billion dollars, which could work out to less than $200 in coverage for each household per year. That won’t cover much.

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 (CDB)?

The Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) is a temporary measure to provide direct, up-front, tax-free payments to cover dental care for Canadians with a family income of less than $90,000 a year who do not have access to private dental benefits, starting with children under age 12 in 2022.

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.

Parents or guardians of eligible children will be able to apply for the CDB through 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. More details are forthcoming.

The target start date for the CDB is December 1, 2022, pending approval by Parliament. However, the program would retroactively cover dental care expenses from October 1, 2022.

How do I apply for the CDB?

You will be able to apply to the CRA directly for the benefit, although exact details haven’t been announced. For now, you can complete some steps on the Canada.ca website to make it easier to apply, probably after December 1, 2022.

You will need to attest 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 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.

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

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, you don’t have to return any unused money.

More details, including how and when to apply for the CDB, have not yet been released.

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.