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Advocacy in Action • April 24, 2021

 
   
     
 
 
 

ELECTED OFFICIALS CELEBRATE NATIONAL DENTAL HYGIENISTS WEEK™

Government outreach is an important part of National Dental Hygienists Week™ (NDHW™). Earlier this month, digital NDHW™ packages were sent to all members of Parliament, prompting statements in the House of Commons from Richmond Hill, ON, MP Majid Jowhari and Bay of Quinte, ON, MP Neil Ellis. Both statements are available on CDHA’s YouTube channel. Five MPs, along with Health Canada/PHAC, Statistics Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Health, and many other government organizations wrote social media posts celebrating the important work that dental hygienists do. Several cities and towns across Canada also issued mayoral or city council proclamations, helping to spread our “Oral Health for Total Health!” message.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

FIRST VIRTUAL PARLIAMENT HILL DAY A SUCCESS!

In February, CDHA’s board of directors and staff took part in a full day of virtual meetings with Parliamentarians to raise awareness of the dental hygiene profession, the need to improve access to oral care, and the importance of developing national standards for oral health for seniors living in long-term care homes. Additional discussions focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the profession and the urgency of developing a universal oral health care plan for seniors. Board members shared their expertise and insights with elected officials to deepen their understanding of oral health issues, particularly those affecting Canada’s vulnerable populations. Highlights from this day are available on CDHA’s website.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

NATIONAL ORAL HEALTH STANDARDS FOR LONG-TERM CARE HOMES

Our call for national oral health standards in long-term care homes resulted in an invitation to participate in a federal roundtable hosted by the Honourable Deb Schulte, minister of seniors, and her parliamentary secretary, Stéphane Lauzon. Last month, CDHA joined other national organizations in a discussion of recommendations for the federal budget. Our clear message is that more investments in dental hygiene services are needed to support residents in long-term care homes.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

POLICY PAPER ON UNIVERSAL ORAL HEALTH CARE

CDHA has commissioned a white paper to inform public policy discussions on the creation of a universal oral health care system in Canada. This paper will examine the evidence, including prevention-based imperatives, for investing in a national, publicly funded oral health care system, with an emphasis on strategies to improve access to care for seniors and the working poor. The policy paper is part of CDHA’s ongoing efforts to ensure that preventive oral health care is available to all residents of Canada. It should be completed before the end of the year.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

EDI FOR INDEPENDENT PRACTICE NETWORK MEMBERS

CDHA’s longstanding collaborative relationship with Sun Life and Manulife is producing important results for independent dental hygienists. Earlier this month, Manulife began accepting electronic claims submissions from independent practitioners. Although Sun Life has been unable to incorporate EDI into its systems, it did launch an email claims system in March for independent dental hygienists. Both initiatives will result in decreased errors and claims processing time.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

CDHA AND THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF DENTAL OFFICER

CDHA had a very positive meeting with Dr. James Taylor, Canada’s chief dental officer, and Lisette Dufour, RDH and senior oral health advisor, in March. Though we maintain regular contact with this office, making time to engage in deeper information-sharing and discussions of emerging issues is valuable. The mandate of the Office of the Chief Dental Officer is to advance population-level oral health through health promotion, disease prevention, and professional/technical guidance.

 
 
 
 
     
 
 

FEDERAL ELECTION WATCH

As the year unfolds, many will be watching to see if Canadians will go to the polls. If a federal election is called in 2021, CDHA will mobilize dental hygienists to play a key advocacy role at the grassroots level. At the same time, CDHA will urge all political parties to commit to improving access to preventive oral health services for Canadians and to providing supports for dental hygienists as essential health care professionals.

 
 
 
 
     
 
     
 

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