Responses to Key Issues - 2021

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2021 Federal Budget

The federal government tabled its budget on April 19. A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience—the first federal budget since 2019—includes more than $101 billion in new investments over the next three years. CDHA is particularly pleased that the budget proposes to provide $3 billion over five years, starting in 2022–2023, to Health Canada to support provinces and territories in ensuring standards for long-term care are applied and permanent changes are made. CDHA is keeping an eye on key announcements from the federal budget and what they mean for the access to oral health services and the profession. Our debrief of the most important highlights is available here.

Recommendations for addressing oral health within national standards for long-term care services across Canada

CDHA is advocating to influence federal health policy on the importance of national oral health standards and guidelines to support residents in Canada’s long-term care homes. In our discussions with and submissions to government, CDHA is proposing recommendations for the creation of national oral health standards in long-term care to improve the oral health status for all residents. Our recommendations highlight the need for an interprofessional care team with dental hygienists as primary oral health care providers; oral health promotion, education, screening, and assessment programs; staff education and training; specific accreditation standards; and the inclusion of or the refinement to oral care requirements in long-term care standards and regulations. CDHA thanks the following contributors who shared their expertise, advice and time with us in the development of our latest recommendations: Arlynn Brodie RDH, Michelle Castano RDH, Wanda Fedora RDH, Sophie Freeman RDH, Tammy Gulevich RDH, and Lynda McKeown RDH.

Health Standards Organization (HSO) leading work on national long-term care services standard beginning in June 2021 - input on oral health needed (HSO survey)

The Health Standards Organization (HSO) is a standards development organization dedicated to health and social services. HSO is co-developing new standards for the delivery of safe, reliable, and high-quality long-term care (LTC) services, as well as for the operation and infection prevention and control practices of LTC homes. CDHA encourages all members who work in LTC, with seniors or who are caregivers to provide input via this survey, which should take 15 to 30 minutes to complete. The survey will help the developers understand what matters most when it comes to defining care and services in LTC homes. Please identify yourself as a dental hygienist in the demographic data section of the survey.

CDHA will be following HSO’s work for opportunities to which is expected to include a series of cross-country town halls and additional activities to hear opinions and capture the diverse perspectives of residents, families, health service providers, clinicians and policy-makers from coast to coast to coast. The draft standard will also go through a public review process in early 2022.

For more information about HSO’s Long-Term Care (LTC) Services work, visit https://longtermcarestandards.ca/.

Policy paper on universal oral health care under development

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.

Calling for better health workforce data in Canada

In an effort spearheaded by the Canadian Health Workforce Network, CDHA has joined a growing group of national associations, educators, researchers and others in calling on the Government of Canada to support health workers by investing in data infrastructure that provinces, territories, regions and training programs need to better plan for and support the health workforce. Improved health system planning through better health workforce data can make a world of difference for health workers and the Canadian public. The Canadian Health Workforce Network is a knowledge exchange network of researchers, decision-makers and other knowledge users interested in health workforce planning, policy and management. For more information about call to action: https://www.hhr-rhs.ca/en/petition.html