Activists ask Quebec parties to promise wider access to dental care
The federal government’s new dental care law introduced on Tuesday is raising questions about oral health access in Quebec ahead of the election.
If given royal assent, Bill C-31 would curb dental costs for children from families who make less than $90,000 a year.
A similar setup already exists in Quebec for children under the age of 10 and families on welfare. But with a provincial election looming, some wonder whether it’s time to provide universal dental care for all Quebecers.
“It needs to be more accessible and better covered,” said Laurent Dassault-Desrochers of MQRP, a group of Quebec doctors who advocate for public health.
He said the first step should be to take care of seniors and all children below the age of 18 years.
“There are many consequences on his health but also on his dignity.”
The elderly are particularly vulnerable to dental problems and often do not have the means to pay for advanced care.
“The vast majority of seniors have partially or completely lost their teeth,” explained senior advocate Gisele Doust.
He explained that only a third of adult Quebecers have access to private dental insurance.
Low-income families are less likely to pay for dental care, leaving them vulnerable to long-term health problems.
The Pointe-Saint-Charles Community Clinic wants to take the fight to a political level and is asking parties to commit to providing better coverage if elected.
So far, Quebec Solidair has proposed a comprehensive plan for senior citizens and children under 18, with partial coverage for working adults.
The Parti Québécois is making a similar promise, but the Conservative Party, Liberal and Coalition Avenir Québec have yet to announce specific programs to improve Quebec’s dental coverage.