Quebec wants out of national dental care program

Quebec wants out of national dental care program

Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard said that the additional funds allocated for the dental care program would have been better spent by increasing federal health transfers overall.

“Before creating new programs, we should adequately fund what already exists,” Girard said, via the Globe and Mail.

He also pointed out that Quebec should be compensated since it already has its own provincially funded dental care program that covers most children under 10, as well as some recipients of a financial assistance program.

Discussions with the federal government would be necessary, Girard said, but the province will be requesting their portion of the federal program which amounts to $3 billion over a period of five years.

Responding to questions about Quebec’s position on the dental care program, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “open to having conversations” with Quebec Premier François Legault.

He also acknowledged Quebec’s existing dental care program but added that the new federal plan would aim to cover more people over time and will eventually be offered to all low-income Canadians who do not have private dental coverage by 2025.

“If the provinces want to work with us to deliver this, we’ll have those conversations,” Trudeau said.

Meanwhile, Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said that the program will cost more than what was originally anticipated because of greater-than-expected uptake. Previous estimates were also formed with limited information.

“We’ve been working with experts and leaders in the field, many of them knowing really well what’s happening on the ground,” Duclos told reporters. “And we’ve also learned recently that the take-up for the dental benefit has been very high. So that’s why those estimates are different now than they were in 2021.”

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