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Montreal Families

New Canada Dental Benefit is something to smile about

For many families, a simple trip to the dentist for a checkup every six months is a significant expense.  The bill adds up quickly with multiple children and the cost of fillings, extractions, and X-rays.

While some employers offer private insurance, according to the federal government, one-third of the Canadian population does not have any coverage. And many of them cannot afford visits to the dentist.

To help eliminate cost barriers to dental care, on December 1, 2022, the Government of Canada began accepting applications for the new interim Canada Dental Benefit.

Under the new program, parents and guardians can receive direct payments of up to $650 a year per eligible child under 12. Using your adjusted family net income, the government will calculate a tax-free payment of $260, $390, or $650 that is available for each eligible child.

The interim benefit is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Parents need to set up an account with the CRA (if they do not already have one), pay upfront for the services, and money will be transferred to their account. Parents must keep receipts to verify out-of-pocket expenses should they be required by the CRA. There are two benefit periods: for dental care received between October 2022 and June 2023, and for dental care received between July 2023 and June 2024, up to a maximum of $1,300 per child.

In order to access the benefit, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have a child or children under 12 as of December 1, 2022 and are currently receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for that child;
  • Have an adjusted family net income of less than $90,000;
  • Their child does not have access to private dental insurance;
  • They have filed their 2021 tax return; and
  • They have had or will have out-of-pocket expenses for their child’s dental care services incurred between October 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023, for which the costs are not fully covered or reimbursed by another dental program provided by any level of government.

By improving children’s access to dental care services, the government hopes to help reduce tooth decay and cavities. Early childhood caries are the leading cause of day surgery under general anesthesia for Canadian children under 5.

“Oral health is an essential component of overall health. Visiting the dentist early and regularly is an important way to get started on their journey to a lifetime of good oral health,” says Dr. Lynn Tomkins, President of the Canadian Dental Association. ‘Thanks to the Canada Dental Benefit, more children across Canada will get access to the dental care they need to have healthy teeth, mouths, and smiles.”

Since its launch, more than 100,000 children have already benefitted from the program, and The Government of Canada has estimated that the Canada Dental Benefit could help as many as 500,000 eligible children access the oral health care they need. The current interim plan is the first step of a long-term Canada-wide dental care program that is under development. The program’s goal is to expand dental coverage to under 18-year-olds, seniors, and persons living with a disability in 2023, with full implementation for all families with incomes under $90,000 by 2025. Approximately 6.3 million Canadians are expected to be eligible once the program is fully implemented.

Eligible families can apply for the Canada Dental Benefit through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) My Account portal or, if they do not have internet access, by phone at 1-800-715-8836.

To learn more about the program, visit canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/dental-benefit

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