Heard about the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) yet?
Heading into its second phase this year, it’s set to bring dental coverage to millions of Canadians — including older Tri-City residents who want dental care but don’t have private dental insurance to help them manage the costs.
Some of our patients have heard about the CDCP and have asked us if we can tell them more about what to expect and when they’ll be able to start taking advantage of it, so we’ve created this page as a resource to share what we know.
Details are still being released, so we’ll keep the page updated as we find out more through federal announcements and practitioner resources from the BC College of Oral Health Professionals (BCCOHP).
Late 2023 or early 2024. Officially, the government is targeting a late 2023 rollout of the CDCP’s second phase, but it isn’t unusual for large-scale programs like this one to be delayed.
Currently, only children under the age of 12 are eligible for dental benefits federal dental benefits. This first, children-only phase of the plan was announced in March of 2022, and it opened for applications in September of the same year.
Just over a year later, the government released more information about the next phase of the plan, revealing that the second phase of the CDCP is expected to expand its coverage in late 2023 to include seniors, individuals under 18, and people with disabilities.
Eligibility requirements for this second phase haven’t been finalized yet, but the basic criteria will be that:
Based on what’s currently being offered to children, there’s a good chance that local seniors will be able to save on treatments beyond just routine checkups once they’re eligible to apply for the CDCP.
If the plan simply expands beyond children to include more groups of uninsured Canadians - which is how the rollout has been described - coverage would include treatments like:
Overall, we’re expecting treatment coverage to be similar to most non-governmental dental plans. In other words, treatments will most likely be eligible as long as they’re for medical purposes and provided by a licensed oral health professional.
For adults, the details here have been sparse, but we can use the coverage amounts that children have received as a basic reference point.
One thing to note: the government uses the term “benefit period” when describing how much money a person can receive, and that’s typically been equal to about one year. For example, the current benefit period for children under 12 is July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024.
Here are the current coverage amounts that the CDCP provides for children:
Those amounts might seem a little bit underwhelming at first, but it’s important to remember that the CDCP is only meant to subsidize basic dental care.
So, realistically, the CDCP won’t help seniors get a brand new smile for free — but it will help them noticeably save on routine checkups or daily essentials like dentures.
Most likely yes, but the specifics - like consistent coverage mounts each year - are very much still up in the air.
The CDCP is meant to provide annual coverage, but as the federal government trials the program over the next few years and grapples with the true cost of offering nationwide dental coverage, we’ll almost certainly see changes to benefit periods and coverage amounts.
With that being said, when the full CDCP was announced, it included a commitment to just under $4.5 billion in “ongoing, permanent funding”.
Following that announcement, BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie also remarked that the plan provided early signs for optimism, so there’s a good chance that eligible seniors will have at least some amount of financial support for oral healthcare moving forward.
Here in the Tri-Cities, more than 1 out of every 10 residents is a senior, and - with many on fixed incomes - we’re expecting (and seeing) a lot of local interest in the CDCP.
More than a handful of our own older patients have asked about the plan and expressed relief that they’ll be able to receive at least some coverage for their dental care.
With that being said, as millions of Canadians wait for the CDCP to open to them, some experts are cautioning that finding a provider may be harder than people expect.
Earlier this year, the B.C. Dental Association estimated that just over one third of BC residents currently don’t have dental insurance, and that low-income seniors are likely to represent a significant proportion of those residents.
As the CDCP launches, there are concerns that dental offices simply won’t have the number of hygienists and support staff needed to keep pace with the added demand from as many as 1 million new patients by 2025.
If you’re a senior living in the Tri-Cities, or you have a senior parent, it’s a good idea to begin searching for a dental office now — before the CDCP officially begins taking applications from seniors, people with disabilities, or those who are under 18.
Much like the ongoing shortage of family doctors, it may become much more difficult to receive timely treatment once dental offices are no longer accepting new patients.
As more people become eligible for the CDCP through 2025, that could mean longer travel times if you can only find a dental office accepting new patients somewhere else in Metro Vancouver, or - worse yet - it could mean being put on a waitlist indefinitely.
By registering as a patient sooner, you can avoid those inconveniences and ensure you have access to timely dental care when you need it.
If you’re looking to find a local dentist before the CDCP expands its coverage, it’d be our privilege to care for your smile.
We’re a little bit different from other dental offices. With us, you’ll have a team of 5 experienced dentists looking after your smile. Not independent dentists working out of the same clinic, but an actual team that shares its expertise.
You can register here at Glen Dental Centre, or at our sister dental office, Poco Comfort Dentistry — whichever one is more convenient for you. Either way, you’ll be getting complete, one-stop dentistry with all of the conveniences you expect like extended hours, direct billing, and financing.
If you’re ready to join us, you can register by calling (604) 552-2241 or booking your first visit online.