Canada Dental Plan
Earlier this year the Federal Government tabled Budget 2022: A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable. The Federal Government’s budget included a number of significant expenditures one of which was provision of a national dental care program.
The Budget proposed to provide funding of $5.3 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $1.7 billion per year ongoing, to Health Canada to provide dental care for Canadians. Phase 1 would start with children under 12 in 2022, and then expand to children under 18, seniors, and persons living with a disability in 2023, with full implementation by 2025. The program would be restricted to families with an income of less than $90,000 annually, with no co-pays for those earning under $70,000 per year.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced further details on the Canada Dental Benefit on September 12, 2022.
The Canada Dental Benefit
The target implementation date for the Canada Dental Benefit is December 1, 2022, pending Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent of enabling legislation, and the program would cover expenses retroactive to October 1, 2022.
Phase 1 of the proposed Canada Dental Benefit would provide eligible parents or guardians with direct, up-front tax-free payments to cover dental expenses for their children under 12. The benefits would be available to children without dental coverage in accordance with the following schedule:
- $650 would be provided for each eligible child if the family’s adjusted net income is under $70,000, or
- $390 would be provided for each eligible child if the family’s adjusted net income is between $70,000 and $79,999, or
- $260 would be provided for each eligible child if the family’s adjusted net income is between $80,000 and $89,999.
To access the Benefit, parents or guardians of eligible children would need to apply through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). In addition, they would need to attest that:
- Their child does not have access to private dental care coverage;
- They will have out of pocket dental care expenses for which they will use the Benefit;
- They understand they will need to provide documentation to verify out of pocket expenses occurred (e.g. show receipts), if required.
Further details on how and when to apply for the Benefit have not been released.
The Canada Dental Benefit would not reduce other federal income-tested benefits such as the Canada Workers Benefit, the Canada Child Benefit, and the Goods and Services Tax Credit.
The Federal Government expects to broaden the benefit and expand coverage to others with full implementation by 2025. In July 2022 the Federal Government put out a formal request for information (RFI) to members of the insurance industry in order to explore what role private companies could play in administering the program. The results of this RFI have not been released. The provinces, territories and private industries have been engaged to provide their input in regards to the design and timelines of the full program. The Federal Government remains committed to full implementation of a dental care program by 2025 for households with incomes under $90,000.
Impact to Employers
Phase 1 of the Canada Dental Benefit is focused on providing assistance to parents/guardians with tax-free payments to cover dental expenses for children under 12. This will not impact existing employer dental plans as it is designed to provide support to families without any private dental coverage.
As the Canada Dental Benefit expands, it will likely continue to be focused on providing coverage for those without any private dental insurance and may have little or no impact on existing employer funded dental programs.
For the announcement of the Canada Dental Benefit, please visit the website:
Please contact Giovanna Lau, Director, Employee Benefits at WCBC for your benefits needs.
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