Dental fees are going up, again.
The BC Dental Association has recommended an average increase of nearly four per cent this year, citing increased costs due to COVID-19.
“The pandemic has most definitely impacted dental practices’ expenses … and increased staffing costs,” the association said in an e-mailed statement to CHEK News.
Over the past five years, the recommended increases amount to more than 18 per cent outpacing inflation.
It comes at the same time NDP MP’s are calling for a new national dental plan.
The NDP tabled a motion in the House of Commons Tuesday calling for a national dental plan for families making less than $90,000 in annual income.
“Over six point five million Canadians don’t have any coverage at all. One in five Canadians actually don’t even go for a check-up because they can’t afford it and now two more million Canadians have lost their coverage as a result of the pandemic and so it’s critical everyone gets the coverage they need,” said Gord Johns, the NDP MP for Courtenay-Alberni.
For years, the party has been calling for a national dental plan and the federal government says it will consider the proposal.
“This seems like a worthy area to investigate and certainly I would be more than happy to review any recommendations that might come from the health committee or other committees that study the issue,” said Patty Hajdu, the government’s Health Minister.
Nanaimo musician Shaun Hall knows how difficult it is to pay for dental care without benefits. He was touring as a member of The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer until the pandemic hit and ended their tour.
“Being in a band for the last 10-15 years [with] no dental plan and so it’s made my visits much more selective,” said Hall.
Hall says dental care should be covered for everyone and is supportive of the NDP’s plan.
“That’s something I could only dream about,” he said.