New dental care program should give First Nations benefits more teeth: NDP 

OTTAWA- NDP health critic Don Davies says dental benefits for Indigenous people should be improved if the new national dental insurance plan offers better or more accessible services.


The Liberals have dedicated $13 billion over the next five years to phase in a new dental insurance program for low- and middle-income Canadians as part of a confidence-and-supply agreement with the NDP.


The government already provides dental benefits as part of a federal health-insurance plan for people with First Nations and Inuit status, and that program is likely to provide the basis for the new national dental plan.


However, if the new plan goes beyond what is offered to First Nations, Davies says improvements should be made to bring both plans in line.


Jan Martin, director of Indigenous relations for the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, says dental benefits for First Nations patients are in sore need of improvements.


She hopes the new emphasis on oral health by the federal government will carry over to Indigenous health as well.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2023.

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