Ottawa to announce details of dental-care plan for low-income families, sources say

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to announce new measures to tackle inflation, including details of their plan for dental care for low-income families, a one-time benefit for low-income renters and a temporary boost to the GST credit — all part of a plan to fulfil a deal between the federal Liberals and the NDP.

Sources in both parties tell CBC News that Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will announce the details in separate announcements on Thursday. 

Under the proposed legislation, the government will give money to pay for dental visits for children under 12 directly to families who earn $90,000 or less. The exact dollar figure per child will be announced by the Prime Minister during the final day of the cabinet retreat in Vancouver scheduled for 12 p.m. ET. Singh will speak in Halifax at 1 p.m. ET.

The sources spoke under condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. 

The payments will be a stop-gap measure meant to cover low-income families while the government works out a permanent dental-care program. 

The Liberals and the NDP signed a supply and confidence agreement in March, under which the latter promised to provide the minority government with enough votes on key pieces of legislation in exchange for advancing New Democrat campaign platforms. A dental-care plan was part of that agreement. 

But another, targeted spending measure that wasn’t in the deal is also expected to be announced. The government is set to boost the GST tax credit for low-income Canadians to help struggling Canadians cope with the rising cost of living.

For months, New Democrats have been calling for the government to help people by doubling the GST tax credit. Canadians can receive up to $467 in GST credit payments if you are single, $612 if you are married or have a common-law partner plus $161 for each child under the age of 19.

The parties are also expected to announce the long-awaited housing benefit top-up. The NDP-Liberal agreement promised renters a $500 one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit this year.

These measures would be put forward in a bill when parliament resumes sitting Sept. 19.


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