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Dental and rental benefits coming to Canadians in need

Bill C-31 received Royal Assent on November 17.

Canadians in need will soon receive new dental and rental benefits thanks to legislation adopted in the Senate.

Bill C-31 enacts the Dental Benefit Act, which provides a tax-free benefit for children under the age of 12 who do not have access to private dental care. This interim program is intended to be in place while federal, provincial and territorial governments discuss how best to establish a long-term dental plan.

The second key part of the legislation enacts the Rental Housing Benefit Act, which provides a one-time payment of $500 to eligible renters.

Senator Hassan Yussuff, who sponsored the legislation in the Upper Chamber, explained during a speech that the legislation will provide up to $650 per year per child – facilitating needed dental care to an estimated 500,000 children from low- to middle-income families.

“Seeing a dental professional can be expensive, and approximately one third of Canadians do not have insurance to cover the costs. This means that many parents have to postpone or forgo important dental care for their children at a time when their teeth are developing,” he said.

“No child should have to suffer poor oral health simply because their family does not have the means to pay for dental care. Painful dental problems do not have to be part of childhood — not when professional dental care is widely available in this country.”

Senator Yussuff said an estimated 1.8 million Canadian renters across the country will receive the housing benefit.

“This one-time payment will have a far-reaching impact,” he said. “Is this benefit meant to be a long-term solution for the affordable housing challenges we face in our country? Absolutely not. This short-term benefit is meant to deal directly with the short-term problem of rising inflation that is disproportionately hurting low-income renters.”

Dental and rental benefits coming to Canadians in need