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Advocacy in Action • November 29, 2021


Student loan forgiveness
on the horizon

For many years, CDHA has advocated to have dental hygienists added to the eligibility list for the Canada Student Loans forgiveness program. In its 2021 election platform, the federal Liberal Party finally responded, promising to include dental hygienists in an expanded list of health care professionals "so that rural communities have greater access to the full suite of health and social service providers they need" (Liberal Party of Canada Platform, 2021). Fulfilling this promise will give dental hygiene students an added incentive to find employment opportunities to provide preventive oral care in northern, rural, and remote communities. It may also incent prospective students living in these communities to pursue dental hygiene education, knowing that they would be able to return home to work with a financial advantage. CDHA will continue to push for the implementation of this program and will share updates as information becomes available.


Incorporating oral health
in national standards for
long-term care

In line with growing calls to do more to ensure the provision of safe, reliable, and high-quality care in long-term care (LTC) homes across the country, CDHA has been advocating for the inclusion of oral health in the new national standards for LTC. Read CDHA's recommendations for ensuring that the oral care needs of all LTC residents are met in our recently released discussion paper.


National oral health care
plan for Canadian seniors

CDHA's latest advocacy campaign is focussed on oral health coverage for low-income seniors and residents of long-term care. Last spring, CDHA commissioned a white paper on universal oral health care from Delphic Research Group. In October 2021, the project team gave an impressive presentation to the board, summarizing their research methodology and the current political context, before recommending targeted investments for a pan-Canadian oral health plan that would prioritize funding for lower income seniors and residents of long-term care homes. The white paper is primarily intended for government audiences to consider specific eligibility, coverage, and key performance indicators for the proposed program. Members will have the opportunity to read the white paper executive summary in the coming weeks on our website.


Federal Liberal
Cabinet unveiled

On October 26, the new federal Liberal Cabinet was unveiled. CDHA closely followed the announcement of key ministers, including health, seniors, employment, Indigenous services, and small business, as well as the naming of opposition critics by the Conservative and NDP parties. Parliament returned on November 22; it is expected that this forthcoming minority government will have a very busy session for addressing health issues.


Post-election government relations activities

During the 2021 federal election campaign, CDHA called on all political parties to invest in new funding to ensure that seniors and low-income Canadians without dental coverage can access the preventive oral health care they need. Following the election, CDHA's government relations activities have included outreach to relevant ministers and members of Parliament across all parties who may serve as oral health champions. Building relationships and communicating our priorities in a coordinated, strategic, and sustained manner are essential to achieving our public policy goals.


Fact sheet on independent dental hygiene practice

To support ongoing advocacy efforts with government and health system stakeholders, CDHA developed a new fact sheet to raise awareness of independent dental hygiene practice. Share this resource with your own community audiences to help them understand how independent dental hygienists, working in a variety of settings, are improving access to preventive oral health care in communities across Canada.


Grassroots advocacy made easy

If you are interested in engaging in grassroots advocacy, check out CDHA's updated advocacy toolkit. It offers quick and easy instructions for sharing key oral health messages with your local elected representatives. Remember: your local voice is powerful. Representatives are interested in hearing the priorities and concerns of their constituents; as essential health care professionals, you can speak with authority about the oral health issues affecting people in your community. Learn more about CDHA's advocacy efforts in our biweekly eNewsletter and on our website.


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