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'Dentists are the heavy lifters in making it actually work': B.C. Dental Association reacts to new federal plan


The wait will soon be over for many British Columbians who need dental care.

On Monday morning, the federal government unveiled details for Canada’s new dental insurance plan, including when eligible age groups can apply.

Applications are opening next week for seniors over the age of 87, and the eligible age will then decrease monthly until reaching 65 in May.

In June, children under 18 and people with disabilities will be next in line. The application process will be open to people between the ages of 18 and 64 in 2025.

"There is no proactive option that any Canadian needs to make today in order to apply, other than making sure that you're up to date with filing your taxes," said Terry Beech, Burnaby North-Seymour MP and minister of citizens’ services.

The B.C. Dental Association (BCDA) said many dentists in the province have yet to be briefed on how the program is going to work, leaving some feeling in the dark.

"At the end of the day, whatever this program looks like, dentists are the heavy lifters in making it actually work," said Dr. Robert Wolanski, president of the BCDA.

Wolanksi has concerns that patients enrolled in the program could have challenges accessing care as the industry faces staffing shortages.

He's concerned that the program is being rushed and that more time would have been helpful to get the details ironed out.

"We are truly grateful for the potential opportunity to help those individuals that we didn't have before, but we are challenged with staffing in our offices,” Wolanski said.

Canadians who are enrolled will be able to start seeing an oral health provider as early as May. The federal government said on Monday that the start date to access oral health care will vary based on when each group can apply, when the application is received, and when enrollment is completed. Top Stories

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