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Advocacy in Action • May 29, 2020

 
   
     
 
 
 

Advocating for You in Unprecedented Times

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, CDHA has focussed its advocacy efforts on ensuring that dental hygienists have the support they need to manage professionally and personally during the crisis. Helping you remains our top priority as we lobby for the availability of PPE, expanded income supports and EI benefits, financial assistance for students, and business relief measures for practice owners. Our collaborations with the Organizations for Health Action (HEAL), the Extended Health Professionals Coalition, and national dental and provincial dental hygiene associations have been key. As dental and dental hygiene clinics now prepare for a gradual reopening, CDHA will continue to draw attention to the need for PPE and evidence-based infection prevention and control guidelines. Together with provincial and territorial authorities and other stakeholders, CDHA is working hard to meet your needs. We will get through this by supporting each other.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Exploring Universal Dental Care

In December 2019, the Speech from the Throne identified universal dental care as an idea "worth exploring." This announcement has opened a national policy dialogue on this important issue, as the prime minister's mandate letter to the minister of health called on the minister to study the possibility of a national dental care program. CDHA is excited to be part of this long-overdue conversation.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Parliament Hill Day Highlights

In February, CDHA's board of directors held its signature annual advocacy event on Parliament Hill. Board directors met with more than 30 members of Parliament, senators, and senior staff to discuss universal dental care, seniors' oral health, Indigenous oral health, and vaping. They also raised concerns about the shortage of PPE in Canada. Throughout the day, board directors answered questions on topics such as the quality and availability of oral health services across Canada, whether dental hygienists are employees or contractors, and oral health services in rural and northern communities. Once Parliament resumes its normal functions, CDHA will re-engage these officials to continue advocating for our policy priorities.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Federal Budget and Oral Health

The theme for last summer's pre-budget consultations led by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance was climate emergency. CDHA's written submission focussed on the need to reduce travel associated with oral health care services that are not available locally. Although the federal budget for fiscal year 2020–21 has been delayed indefinitely by the pandemic, Finance Canada and the Parliamentary Budget Office estimate that $146 billion in federal investments have already been announced. As more is understood about the financial and economic impact of the pandemic, CDHA will determine how best to keep oral health on the federal agenda.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Organizations for Health Action (HEAL)

CDHA is proud to be an active member of HEAL, a non-partisan coalition of 40 national health organizations dedicated to improving the health of Canadians and the quality of care they receive. HEAL uses a consensus-based approach that integrates the collective expertise and impact of its members. HEAL's quarterly meetings include engagement with Parliamentarian guest speakers. In 2019, HEAL heard from Jo-Ann Roberts (Green Party interim leader), Don Davies (NDP health critic), Pierre Poilievre (CPC finance critic), and policy staff from the office of the Minister of Seniors. During the pandemic, HEAL has hosted meetings with the Minister of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

EDI Claims Submissions from Independent Practitioners

In fall 2019, ClaimSecure joined the list of insurance companies permitting electronic claims submissions from independent dental hygienists. CDHA is currently collaborating with Sun Life to develop a strategy and solutions to address the ongoing concerns of our independent practitioners. At a meeting in February with the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), CDHA expressed appreciation for those companies that have implemented EDI claims processing for independent dental hygienists, confirmed its commitment to continue collaborating with those companies that do not, and shared member feedback on experiences with call centres.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

National Occupational Classification

In January, Canada's National Occupational Classification (NOC) system, maintained by Employment and Social Development Canada and Statistics Canada, was revised. Among the revisions were changes to the lead statement, main duties, and employment requirements for dental hygienists and dental therapists (NOC 3222). CDHA's Education Advisory Committee is now guiding the association's efforts to have dental hygiene classified as a professional occupation in health in recognition of the skill level and educational preparation of the profession. CDHA intends to make this request during the next major structural revision of the NOC in 2021.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

Vaping and Oral Health

Earlier this year, CDHA released a position statement on vaping, replacing its 2015 statement on e-cigarettes. The new statement synthesizes the latest high-quality evidence on the harms associated with the use of vaping devices and offers recommendations for dental hygienists and other oral health professionals who treat clients who vape. What comes up most frequently about vaping in conversation with your clients? Email us at advocacy@cdha.ca.

 
 
 
 
     
 
     
 

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