The Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), first proposed by the federal government in 2022, is not far away from becoming available to more Canadians. Learn more about the CDCP and the Canada Dental Benefit.
Frequently Asked Questions
In 2022, the federal government announced plans to create the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), providing dental care coverage for uninsured Canadians with a household income of less than $90,000 a year. The government committed to:
- Provide coverage for children under the age of 12 from uninsured low- and middle-income families by the end of 2022;
- Include children and teens under 18 years of age, seniors, and people with disabilities in 2023; and
- Roll out the program to all eligible Canadians by 2025.
For those who have a household income of less than $70,000 a year, costs will be fully covered.
The federal government is still figuring out how they’re going to run the CDCP, but they have announced that it will be will be administered by Health Canada, with support from a third-party benefits administrator.
In the federal budget for 2023, the estimated cost of the CDCP has been adjusted to $13 billion over five years, an increase from initial estimate of $5.3 billion when the program was first announced. Additionally, $4.4 billion of ongoing costs to Health Canada for implementation is budgeted.
The ODA and other dental associations across Canada are concerned about a lack of meaningful consultation with the provincial and territorial dental associations when our member dentists are expected to deliver on the government’s promises. 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 the Canada Dental Benefit as a first stage of its plan to deliver dental coverage for children.
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.
We don’t know and this should concern us all. Two-thirds of Canadians have great dental benefits from their work, school, or other group plan. These plans give them a choice of dentist, and the right to choose what dental care they get.
Dentists believe that the CDCP should improve access to care for people who don’t have benefits. It shouldn’t take away the benefits that people already have.
A recent study showed that the majority of the public would not support a federal dental plan if it meant they would lose their dental benefits. This is why we need the federal government to tell us what they are planning to do to protect your existing dental insurance.
The Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) provides 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.
Payments are administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The CRA will use adjusted income to determine eligibility and the amount of benefit you’ll receive. You must 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 covered 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.
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. Applications for the second benefit period are open until June 30, 2024. To access the second benefit period, you must meet the following criteria:
- You have a child or children under 12 as of July 1, 2023, and are currently receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for that child;
- You have an adjusted family net income of less than $90,000;
- Your child does not have access to private dental care coverage;
- You have filed your 2022 tax return; and
You have out-of-pocket expenses for your child’s dental care services incurred in Canada between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024, for which the costs have not been fully covered under another federal, provincial or territorial government program.
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.
When applying, you should have the following information close by as you will be required to provide:
- The name, address and telephone number of your child’s dental care professional.
- The date (or expected date) of your child’s or children’s dental appointment.
- The name, address and telephone number of your employer and your spouse’s or common-law partner’s employer, if applicable.
If you apply online and are signed up for direct deposit, you could receive your payment within five business days. If you are unable to apply online, you can call a new dedicated phone line at 1-800-715-8836 to complete your application with an agent.
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.
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.
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.