Calgary

Alberta Liberals say they'd pressure Ottawa for universal dental care if elected

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan said if elected, his party would work to make dental care in the province more affordable.

Province has highest dental fees in Canada

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan speaks to reporters in Calgary on Monday. (CBC)

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan said if elected, his party would work to make dental care in the province more affordable.

"We know that dental health is critical to your overall health," said Khan while announcing the party's affordable dental-care platform on Monday in Calgary. "We've got to get dental fees down for Albertans."

Khan said Albertans pay the highest dental fees in the country and have "spotty" coverage.

He outlined plans to make the market more competitive, including:

  • Providing $50 million in funding for affordable, community-based dental care.
  • Pressuring the federal government to fund universal dental care.
  • Requiring dentists to discuss prices up front.
  • Requiring dentists to publicly list their standard prices in comparison to the dental fee guide.
  • Making the dental fee guide mandatory.
  • Lifting restrictions on dentists offering promotions for groups like seniors and children.

Khan said that while the NDP introduced a dental fee guide, they didn't go far enough by not making it mandatory.

"The dental fee guide is really quite disappointing for Albertans," he said.

He added that the long-term goal would be to get universal dental coverage, like the U.K.'s National Health Service has.

In 2016, a review found Alberta's dental fees were the highest in Canada, and the provincial government established a fee guide for the first time in 20 years. At the time, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said it would curtail costs by offering patients a chance to compare prices.

Currently, dentists in Alberta are free to establish their own rates.

  • Alberta Votes 2019: CBC News brings you all the news, analyses and columns you need for the election

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