Health minister committed to fixing dental-care double standard for hygienists

OTTAWA — The federal health minister says he isn’t convinced by the rationale used to deny independent hygienists equal reimbursement for the same services dentists’ offices offer under a new national plan.

Reimbursement rates vary from province to province, but the dental program pays significantly less for a cleaning that happens at a private hygiene clinic, as opposed to in a dentist’s office.

Health Minister Mark Holland says the disparity was copied over from a federal benefit program for First Nations and Inuit.

Holland says he is looking into it, and the CEO of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association says he committed to pay parity during a recent meeting.

But she says he has not provided a timeline for when that change will actually happen, and independent hygienists are being paid less in the meantime.

The dental program began accepting claims earlier this month, and 25,000 seniors have received care under the program so far.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2024.

The Canadian Press