May 4th, 2021
NDP proposal would make dental care affordable for millions of Canadians
OTTAWA – Today, New Democrats are urging the government to support their proposal to provide dental coverage to millions of Canadians who can’t afford a visit to the dentist. The NDP plan, brought forward today by NDP MP Jack Harris, is completely costed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer and would benefit 6.7 million people in Canada whose household income is less than $90,000 a year.
“Canadians need help affording dental services now more than ever as more and more people have lost their benefits at work during the pandemic,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “Last year, the Liberals chose to give the biggest tax breaks to people who didn’t need them. In this year’s budget, they sided with large corporations and the ultra-wealthy by refusing to make them pay their fair share with a wealth tax. Instead of looking out for the richest in our country, New Democrats will choose to help everyday Canadians get the health care services they need – every single time.”
Right now, one in three Canadians don’t have access to dental coverage and more than one in five say the cost stops them from visiting a dentist. New Democrats want to end the gross inequality in access to basic healthcare and show the health and economic costs of the federal government’s inaction.
Left untreated, poor dental hygiene is linked to many serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections and diabetic complications. Emergency rooms across the country are struggling to meet the demand caused by COVID-19. Yet, every nine minutes in Ontario alone, someone visits an emergency room for dental pain, when what they really need is to see a dentist. The estimated cost of these visits across Canada is more than $150 million per year.
“The lack of access to affordable dental care for those who are uninsured has created significant inequality in Canada’s health care system,” said Harris. “The Liberals keep saying they’ll address the high cost of dental services in throne speeches or during elections but the help never comes. They just presented a federal budget and they did nothing to help Canadians who can’t afford to see a dentist. The government can do something about this – they are choosing not to. New Democrats will keep fighting for Canadians to have the dental care they need to stay healthy.”