Canada's Provincial and Territorial Dental Associations (CPTDA) said the federal government has to make the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) work for patients, providers and taxpayers alike. “We all want the same thing — a successful and sustainable Canadian Dental Care Plan,” said Alberta Dental Association President Dr. Bruce Yaholnitsky in a press release. “The only way we reach our goal is if dentists and policymakers work together to create a plan that benefits patients, while respecting both providers and taxpayers.”CPTDA said it has created a comprehensive, actionable framework for a strong dental care program based on data, research and input from experts across regions and specialities. It is a collection of the advice the associations have offered the Canadian government over the past few months. To have a strong CDCP, it said it should safeguard access to dental care by respecting the current workplace, school and group insurance system; allow each patient to choose their own dentist in the community; ensure they can access what they need without needless administrative delays and red tape; work with existing government programs so people get the most out of it; and offer fair compensation to the dental professionals delivering it. In addition to the proposed framework, it urged the Canadian government to implement a plan to increase skilled labour for dental offices. There are serious shortages of dental hygienists and assistants across Canada. The CDCP will increase staffing demands in dental practices. Without enough of these skilled professionals, patients could face delays in getting the dental care they need. Until the Canadian government can deliver a strong program, the CPTDA recommended at least a temporary expansion of the Canada Dental Benefit (CDB). The CDB is a fixed dollar amount a patient can use to be reimbursed for dental expenses. Polls show nine-tenths of Canadians support the CDB, and most want an oral health spending account as a permanent solution. British Columbia Dental Association President Dr. Rob Wolanski said BC’s dentists “welcome the opportunity that the Canadian Dental Care Plan offers to raise the oral and overall health of Canadians, especially those facing financial barriers.”“The CDCP’s long-term success is premised on addressing patient needs while being fair and sustainable,” said Wolanski. Manitoba Dental Association President Dr. Scott Leckie said the CDCP “has the opportunity to benefit the oral health of Canadians.”“This can make a real difference for so many,” said Leckie. “We hope the government can benefit from the united work our provincial and territorial dental associations have provided to make this program a success!”Finance Canada requested in May the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) not make in-house data about a federal dental care program available to the public. READ MORE: Federal dental care program projected to cost $4.6 billion annually by 2025The PBO asked for information regarding the cost and extent of the plan, which was promised to be implemented by 2025. “We respectfully request that you do not disclose the data publicly or share it outside of your organization,” said Finance Canada.