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Insurance association warns federal dental plan could lead employers to drop coverage

April 21, 2023
The Canadian Press

A visit to the dentist. Photo: Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe Stock

An association of health insurance providers warns it might not be worth it for small businesses to provide dental benefits to some employees once the government launches a national dental plan, and is pitching a tax credit to convince them not to drop their coverage.

The Liberals announced in their latest federal budget that they would spend $13 billion over the next five years to provide uninsured low- and middle-income Canadians with access to dental care through a federal insurance plan.

The program is a key element of the supply-and-confidence agreement the Liberals signed with NDP last year to prevent an election before 2025.

The association proposes the government issue a 35 per cent tax credit for small businesses as a strong incentive to keep their existing insurance plans in place.


Health benefits, including dental, are a deductible expense for business, but the association says small enterprises don’t see the same advantages as large corporations.

NDP health critic Don Davies says he’s aware of the concern about small businesses dropping coverage but hasn’t seen any evidence to that effect, and he’s not convinced it is going to be a serious problem.

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