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WHITEHORSE – Yukon Party Health and Social Services Critic Brad Cathers reiterated outstanding questions from businesses and employees with the announcement of a new Yukon Dental Program. The delayed program also confirms the leader of the NDP’s claim that the territorial Liberals’ are doing the ‘bare minimum’ to fulfill commitments under the 2021 Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA).
Mandated as part of the CASA, the Liberal government launched the long-delayed program less than a month before the agreement expires. As outlined in the CASA, the program was to be created “with an initial investment of $500,000 in the 2021-2022 budget to develop the program, which will be fully implemented and fully funded with the 2022-23 budget.”
“As the dental program rolls out, there are still many questions to be answered,” said Cathers. “As I noted during the fall sitting of the Legislative Assembly, companies who currently cover their employees with dental benefits are wondering if they can or should remove those benefits, if those will now be covered by the government. In addition, employees may want to opt out of their dental plan if the government benefit offers better coverage. There are also questions about how the Yukon Dental Program will operate with the Canada Dental Benefit.”
The Minister of Health and Social Services has indicated the Yukon benefit will evolve alongside the federal program, but no details have been provided to date.
“As outlined in the CASA, the dental program was to be developed and ready for roll-out with the 2022-23 budget,” Cathers added. “This is another example of a warped version of a CASA commitment being delivered late by this government and calls into question how long the NDP will tolerate this continued slow action by the Liberals.”
While there are questions remaining about this program, the Yukon Party Official Opposition is hopeful that providing more Yukoners access to dental care will help our overall health care system in the long-term.