Federal dental care benefit gets green light in Parliament

Canadians are one step closer to finally having access to a universal dental care program.

The Liberal dental care benefit legislation passed the third reading in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Bill C-31 passed 172 to 138 despite the Conservatives and Bloc Québécois voting against it.

“Our legislation to make dental care more accessible, and to provide support to 1.8 million renters, has passed in the House – even though the Conservative Party voted against it,” tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday.

The dental care program was first announced under the federal government’s 2022 budget in April.

The legislation now has to be approved by the Senate before it receives royal assent and becomes law.

Who is eligible?

Based on Ottawa’s initial announcement, the new program would be geared toward “low-income Canadians.”

Dental care will cover kids under 12 years old in 2022 and then expand to include anyone under 18, as well as seniors and people living with a disability in 2023.

Full implementation would be reached by 2025.

The government says the program would be restricted to families with an income of less than $90,000 annually. Anyone with an income of under $70,000 annually won’t have to make co-payments.

Families will need to apply through the Canada Revenue Agency and provide evidence for the following:

  • They have booked a dental appointment for their kids
  • They don’t have private insurance
  • They will have out-of-pocket expenses for the appointment

They will also need to keep their receipts in case they are audited.

A confidence-and-supply agreement between Trudeau and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh earlier this year secured the implementation of the bill.

Singh took to Twitter to share a video message celebrating the win on Friday.

“The Conservatives fought us at every chance — but we didn’t stop pushing and we’re not done fighting,” reads the tweet.

In August, Singh warned Trudeau that he would end the deal that would keep the Trudeau government in power until 2025 if the dental care program falls through.

Bill C-31 also aims to provide support to 1.8 million renters across the country.


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