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.
“Millions of people in Canada do not have adequate dental coverage, forcing them to put their health at serious risk. Young people, low-wage and precarious workers, and seniors, are often forced to leave their dental issues untreated because they can’t afford to visit the dentist,” said Gazan.
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.
“In their throne speech, the Liberals promised to get Canadians dental care. Last month’s budget proved that the Liberals like to break their promises,” said MP Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski). “That’s why we’ve brought forward this plan, to get Canadians the help they need now.”