BC Dental Hygienists Applaud Launch of Canada Dental Care Plan
May 2, 2024
May 2, 2024 (Vancouver, BC) — On May 1, the first patients under the new Canadian Dental Care Plan began receiving treatment. Independent dental hygienists saw clients who had previously been unable to afford access to oral health care. Over 1.7 million seniors are enrolled in the plan, and more age cohorts will become eligible as the program rolls out over the coming months.

The BC Dental Hygienists Association (BCDHA) joins some 22,000 practitioners across the country in applauding the federal government for taking direct action to improve access to oral health care for those who need it most.

“Dental hygienists provide treatment in a variety of settings,” said Leta Zaleski, President of the BCDHA. “Our members work in dental hygiene clinics, long-term care facilities, in patients’ homes, schools, and via mobile clinics. The participation of large numbers of oral health professionals will be vital to the success of the Canadian Dental Care Plan, and independent dental hygienists will play a key role in delivering preventative oral health care.”

BCDHA encourages the federal government to continue to grow coverage for preventative services, including increasing frequency limits for scaling and root planing, and adding services such as oral health education and promotion, care of oral appliances, and interventions that will have a direct impact on addressing pain.

BCDHA’s advocacy also includes addressing the disparity between the dental hygiene and dental reimbursement rates for the same service, and ensuring the plan is not an administrative burden for front office staff and does not rely heavily on preauthorization of dental services.

“Reimbursement rates are a priority for our members,” said BCDHA Executive Director Cherie Payne. “At the moment, the CDCP-established fees for dental hygienists practising independently are, on average, 15% lower than fees for the same service provided by a dental hygienist working in a dental clinic. Ensuring equal pay for equal work will be key to recruiting oral health care providers to this historic new Plan.”