Just like healthy eating and being active, oral health is an important contributing factor to good overall health and in preventing chronic diseases. In Canada, one-third of the population cannot afford to pay for dental care, which is why our government is taking steps toward a Canada-wide dental care program for those who need it most. Everyone deserves access to dental care.
On December 1, 2022, the Government of Canada started accepting applications for the interim Canada Dental Benefit. Through this benefit, we are helping reduce financial barriers, thus helping families of eligible children under 12 access the dental care they need.
The Canada Dental Benefit is temporary and provides immediate support for families with children whose teeth are still developing. In the meantime, we have been working towards developing a comprehensive, long-term Canada-wide dental care program. To inform options on the long-term program, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is conducting a multi-stage procurement process on behalf of Health Canada.
On October 28, 2022, Public Services and Procurement Canada issued an Invitation to Qualify (ITQ) which invited suppliers with expertise in the field of dental and health claims processing, to express their interest in becoming a qualified supplier.
As a result of the ITQ, we can now announce that three suppliers have been qualified to participate in the next phase of the procurement process. Express Scripts Canada, Medavie Inc., and Sun Life Financial Inc. will be providing feedback and recommendations on what could be needed if a third-party service provider were to deliver a program of this scale.
The Government will collaborate with qualified suppliers to further refine the requirements for the delivery of a comprehensive, long-term Canada-wide dental care program. Once the program is better defined, the Government will make a decision on the next steps for the long-term program.
While the procurement process continues through its multiple stages, we remain focused on helping children under 12 who qualify for the interim Canada Dental Benefit receive the dental care they deserve. The Government of Canada will continue to work with all partners, including provinces and territories and oral health care professionals, to improve access to oral health care for those who need it most.
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Helena Jaczek, P.C., M.P.