Deputy prime minister visits clinics at U of T Faculty of Dentistry

Chrystia Freeland highlighted that children under 18 and persons with disabilities are now eligible for coverage under the Canadian Dental Care Plan
Freeland smiles during a candid moment with some dentistry students

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland meets with graduate students at U of T's Faculty of Dentistry (all photos by Sean Liliani)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland visited several of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Dentistry clinics on Tuesday, July 9, and highlighted how updates to the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) are helping Canadians get the dental care they need – no matter their ability to pay.

At 14 clinics, the Faculty of Dentistry treats more than 15,000 new patients each year, many of whom experience barriers to accessing dental care. The deputy prime minister visited the Children’s Clinic and several others, speaking to pediatric specialty graduate students who help treat nearly 2,000 children annually. 

The faculty has been closing the gap in access to dental care for the past 50 years with more than 400 doctor of dental surgery students working with vulnerable populations at a cost dramatically lower than that of a private practice. 

Freeland shakes hands with a student in the children's dental clinic
Minister Freeland meets a student at the Faculty of Dentistry's Children's Clinic

Following the tour, Freeland said that effective June 27, uninsured children under 18 and adults with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate who have an annual adjusted net family income of less than $90,000 are eligible for the CDCP. Prior to this announcement, the plan already rolled out to more than 2.1 million uninsured seniors aged 65 or over – of whom about 250,000 have already received dental care. 

“The Canadian Dental Care Plan aligns with our mission to provide dental care to those in need,” said Professor Laura Tam, the Faculty of Dentistry’s interim dean. “We have accepted many patients through the CDCP since we enrolled several months ago and are happy to say that our experience has been positive. Now, we look forward to providing the same wide-ranging scope of treatment to our youngest patients.”

Freeland speaks at a podium that says "Canadian Dental Care Plan"
Minister Freeland (L) highlighted updates to the Canadian Dental Care Plan – which interim Dean Laura Tam (R) noted aligns with the Faculty of Dentistry's mission to provide dental care to those in need

The deputy prime minister highlighted how the federal government is making it easier for oral health providers to treat patients and to submit CDCP claims. Providers who prefer not to sign on to the plan will now have the option of providing services on a claim-by-claim basis, opening up new channels for patients to access care. Canadians covered by the CDCP will be able to see the provider of their choice, as long as their provider agrees to bill Sun Life directly.

“Too many Canadians are going without the dental care they need – but ability to pay shouldn’t be a barrier to staying healthy,” said Freeland. “That is why we launched the Canadian Dental Care Plan – a transformative expansion of Canada's social safety net – and already, millions of seniors have signed up. Now, with children under 18 and persons with disabilities eligible to apply, even more Canadians will get the dental care they need.”

Freeland looks at a teaching mannequin in the childrens' lab
A dentistry student demonstrates a training mannequin to Minister Freeland

By 2025, the CDCP will be fully implemented to cover all uninsured Canadians with an annual adjusted net family income under $90,000, providing oral health care for up to nine million eligible Canadians. 

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