Dental-care Benefit Bill Passes Third Reading Despite Opposition from Conservatives

The dental-care benefit bill proposed by the Liberals has passed its third reading in the House of Commons. The bill, if passed, will give children with families that make under $90,000 per annum up to $650 per child to care for their teeth. The bill was opposed by the Conservatives and Bloc Québécois citing it could worsen the cost of living.

The dental-care benefit bill passed 172 to 138 in the House of Commons. This was the third reading for the bill and now it will be sent to the Senate to receive royal assent before it can be made a law. This comes as good news for families earning under $90,000 a year and supporting children. Each child in these families will be entitled to as much as $650 for dental care. To be eligible for this dental-care benefit bill, families will need to:

  • Apply through the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Attest they have booked a dental visit for their kids
  • Prove they don’t have private insurance and that payment will have to be made out-of-pocket for the appointment.

They will also need to keep their receipts in case they are audited. Additionally, it also includes a one-time subsidy of $500 for low-income renters to support them with the cost of inflation.

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The initial plan promised by the Liberals was to launch a federal dental care insurance program for low- and middle-income families by the end of 2022. However, since this did not seem to be materializing at the desired pace, Liberals decided to instead set up a benefits program that gives money directly to families.

The Conservatives, on the other hand, see this as a step towards increasing the cost of living. “We would be doing Canadians a far greater service … if we came to this place every day trying to reduce the cost of government. Don’t pour water on that grease fire. No more inflationary spending that will make the problem even worse,” said Conservative House leader Andrew Scheer. Bloc MP Jean-Denis Garon informed the House of Commons that parliamentarians have not had time to hear from experts as the bill was rushed.

Dental care is part of the supply and confidence deal between the Liberals and the NDP. Even though the initial plan did not materialize, the government still intends to develop a dental insurance plan to keep its commitment to the NDP.

Vineet Washington

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