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Advocacy in Action • May 31, 2019

 
   
     
 
 
 

Advocacy and You

CDHA’s Advocacy in Action eNewsletter is designed to raise awareness of the association’s advocacy initiatives and identify opportunities for members to take action. Since the eNewsletter’s launch in July 2016, CDHA members and staff have worked diligently to help improve the public’s access to dental hygiene care and promote the oral health of Canadians. Here are some of our latest policy and advocacy activities.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Elected Officials Celebrate National Dental Hygienists Week™

Government outreach is an important part of National Dental Hygienists Week™ (NDHW™). This past April, digital NDHW™ packages were sent to 337 members of Parliament, prompting official greetings from the minister of health and the prime minister and a statement in the House of Commons from MP Churence Rogers (viewed 4,500 times). Six MPs, along with several government departments and organizations wrote social media posts. Mayoral or city council proclamations were made in at least 7 cities/towns across Canada, helping to spread our “Oral Health for Total Health!” message.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Federal Budget 2019

Each year, CDHA makes a pre-budget submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance during the consultation period. This year, CDHA recommended that the federal government continue to expand and enhance policy and programming to improve access to oral health care for seniors and those living in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities.

On Tuesday, March 19, 2019, Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled the 2019 federal budget entitled Investing in the Middle Class. Read our summary of the key aspects of the budget focusing on oral health care and their implications for the profession and CDHA.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Canadian Competencies for a Baccalaureate Oral Health Practitioner

In 2017, CDHA was awarded a grant to develop a new oral health curriculum to reintroduce dental therapy training into postsecondary education programs. This curriculum will equip graduates with the skills to prevent oral disease, as well as alleviate unnecessary pain and suffering.

To that end, working with key stakeholders, CDHA developed and published the Canadian Competencies for a Baccalaureate Oral Health Practitioner: Combining Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy Education. This 2018 report outlines the core competencies of the oral health practitioner graduating from a “3 plus 1” model of baccalaureate education.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Parliament Hill Day

On February 21, 2019, CDHA’s board of directors headed to Parliament Hill to discuss the importance of access to oral health care for seniors and Indigenous peoples with MPs and senators from across Canada and from all major parties. Ms Jean Yip, co-chair of the Liberal Seniors’ Caucus, joined the group for breakfast and led an inspiring discussion that set the tone for a very productive day of advocacy. CDHA board directors and staff had the opportunity to meet 20 elected officials, including the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, minister of health, ensuring that critical oral health care issues are brought to the forefront of the government’s agenda.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Organizations for Health Action

CDHA co-chairs the Organizations for Health Action (HEAL), a national coalition of 40 health care professional associations and groups, which tackles strategic issues of importance to the health and well-being of Canadians. On November 1, 2018, HEAL held its first-ever lobby day on Parliament Hill. Interprofessional teams met with 43 members of Parliament, including Minister of Seniors Filomena Tassi.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Manitoba Lobby Day

One of CDHA’s fundamental advocacy strategies is to support provinces in their advocacy initiatives. On November 26, 2018, CDHA partnered with the Manitoba Dental Hygienists Association to coordinate a very successful day of meetings with over 25 MLAs from all parties, including the minister of health, seniors and active living. The meetings were a great opportunity to voice concerns and suggest ways in which the government can improve access to safe, quality oral care by enabling dental hygienists to work to their full scope of practice.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Canada’s National Occupational Classification

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is the authoritative taxonomy and organizational framework of occupations in the Canadian labour market. Unfortunately, the NOC code for dental hygienists does not accurately reflect the skill level, autonomy, and expertise of the profession.

On July 3, 2018 CDHA met with Employment and Social Development Canada staff responsible for the NOC codes to encourage the reclassification of dental hygiene as a “professional” occupation in health rather than a “technical” occupation. CDHA also prepared a revised definition of the profession to better reflect the skillset and education of dental hygienists in Canada.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Vaping and Oral Health

Given the rise in the use of vaping products by youth in Canada, CDHA was pleased to write a letter to the Tobacco Control Directorate in support of its proposed legislation for restrictions on advertising of vaping products to youth. CDHA also met with Liberal MP Pam Damoff to discuss the harmful effects of e-cigarettes on both oral and overall health.

CDHA will continue to work with all political parties at all levels of government to reduce the use of e-cigarettes in Canada. For more information on the hazards of
e-cigarettes, please read our position statement, Oh Canada! article, and fact sheet.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

The Conversation Continues

Over the past year, CDHA has met with federal MPs and senators, provincial MLAs and MPPs, provincial ministers, senior civil servants, and the media to discuss priorities for dental hygiene and the oral health of Canadians. We highlighted issues such as rural and Indigenous health, the oral health care needs of the senior population, oral–systemic links, and the need for legislation and policies to promote optimal oral health. CDHA will continue to seek out opportunities to influence policy and support CDHA members in advocacy work. Contact advocacy@cdha.ca for further information.

 
 
     
 
     
 

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