The 2014 edition of CDA’s annual Days on the Hill event was a success, creating opportunities for significant policy change at the federal level to help improve the oral health of Canadians.
The policy focus of this year’s meetings was the Non-Insured Health Benefits program of Health Canada. CDA’s representatives affirmed the need for a full review of this program in order to assess the proper level of funding, and to ensure that the program is administratively sound.
To this end, the CDA met with the Minister of Health, Hon. Rona Ambrose, as well NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to make their case. Teams of dentists also met with officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, with senior officials within the NIHB Branch at Health Canada, with members of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Health and on Aboriginal Affairs, and with other relevant MPs and Senators.
In addition to the NIHB program, the CDA spoke with MPs with regards to the oral health care needs of veterans in long-term care facilities. CDA’s representatives underlined the capacity for Veteran Affairs Canada to have a positive effect on care for these seniors, and to show leadership on standards of care for all seniors in LTC facilities.
The CDA’s contingent of 11 dentists included senior leadership from the CDA, including President Dr. Gary MacDonald and President-Elect Dr. Alastair Nicoll; representatives from the Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (Dr. Chris Robinson) and the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry (Dr. Paul Allison); Members of CDA’s Advocacy Committee, including Dr. Tom Raddall (Chair, Nova Scotia), Dr. Lynn Tomkins (Ontario), Dr. David Zaparinuk (British Columbia); Former CDA Presidents Dr. Peter Doig and Dr. Louis Dubé; and members of the CDA NIHB Sub-Committee Dr. Phil Poon (Manitoba) and Dr. Peter Neilson (Ontario).
CDA was also joined for its meeting on Parliament Hill by representatives of the Assembly of First Nations, and will continue to work with First Nations and Inuit groups to make the case for an effective and patient-focussed NIHB program.