The Alberta Dental Association has responded to Premier Danielle Smith's opting out of the Canadian Dental Care Plan.

Last December, the Government of Canada launched the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP). According to the government, this would help make oral health care more affordable for up to nine million Canadian residents who do not currently have access to dental insurance. Most services included in the CDCP will be accessible starting May 2024, coinciding with the initiation of services for the inaugural group of CDCP clients.

In a Facebook post, Smith stated "The new federal program is inferior, wasteful and infringes on provincial jurisdiction; therefore, I have sent this letter to our Prime Minister requesting our share of federal funding for this program be provided to our government so we can increase the number of Albertans able to access our provincial dental plan."

According to Smith in the letter, she wrote that Alberta offers the most extensive, publicly funded dental coverage in Canada with around 500,000 Albertans benefiting from these plans including low-income families, and other vulnerable individuals such as children.

"The new Canadian Dental Care Plan unnecessarily replicates this coverage for many Albertans. This duplication raises the question of the value of maintaining two plans and whether health funding would be more wisely used to support a single plan," stated Smith.

She also claimed the addition of another dental plan is both complex and confusing.

Alberta Dental Association released a statement sharing their concerns with what the Premier is doing.

"Alberta’s dentists are concerned that the Government of Alberta’s decision to opt out of the federal Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), without further details, makes an already complex situation even more confusing for both patients and dentists," the association stated. "While our Association has met with the Province about existing low-income dental programs and the possibility of an Alberta-based program, our focus is on supporting Alberta’s dentists and the oral health of all Albertans."

According to the association, It is true that Alberta’s existing dental programs are among the most diverse in the country but they are outdated and often limit timely access to oral health care for patients. If the Province is serious about providing Albertans with the best possible access to affordable dental care, it is crucial to consult and listen to those on the front line.

"Alberta’s dentists want a sustainable oral health program that works for Albertans. We have outlined solutions for the Province to improve patient experience, reduce delays in care, reduce multiple visits, eliminate unnecessary red tape, and more fairly reimburse dentists who have been treating low-income Albertans below their own costs and without an updated agreement for more than seven years."

The association looks forward to further discussions with the province and aims for a successful resolution for Alberta’s dental programs by the end of the summer.

At the end of her letter, Smith stated the province is seeking to negotiate an agreement for the province's share of the federal dental funding and use it to expand Alberta's current plan.

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