In its 2023 budget on Tuesday, the federal government proposed roughly $13 billion over the next five years and $4.4 billion ongoing to fully implement the national dental-care program.
The plan — to be administered by Health Canada, with support from a third-party benefits administrator — will provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians with annual family income of less than $90,000, with no copays for those with family incomes under $70,000. The first phase of the plan was launched in December, providing coverage of up to $650 per year for children aged 12 and younger.
The legislation would also require employers to report dental coverage offered to their employees and plan members through T4/T4A reporting. “This requirement would ensure that the new dental-care plan is limited to Canadians with an unmet need for dental care who don’t have access to private insurance,” said the budget document, which also noted details on eligible coverage will be released later this year.
In addition, the budget proposed $250 million over three years and $75 million ongoing to establish an oral health access fund, which will complement the national dental-care plan by investing in targeted measures to address oral health gaps among vulnerable populations and reduce barriers to accessing care.
The budget also proposed amendments to the Canada Labour Code to improve job protections for federally regulated gig workers by strengthening prohibitions against employee misclassification. This includes ensuring that these workers receive employer contributions to which they’re entitled, such as employment insurance and the Canada Pension Plan.
The government said it’s also planning to introduce amendments that will enable the Public Sector Pension Investment Board to manage the assets of the Canada Growth Fund, in order to deliver on the fund’s mandate of attracting private capital to invest in Canada’s clean economy.
PSP Investments will also establish an investment decision-making committee, focused exclusively on the growth fund, to ensure that investment decisions align with the growth fund’s objectives, investment principles and performance criteria.
To ensure that workers are represented in the governance of PSP Investments, the budget said the government will consult unions this spring about adding two seats to PSP Investments’ board of directors for representatives of organized labour, a move initially proposed in the 2022 federal budget.
To help protect Canadians’ retirement assets, the government said it will require federally regulated pension plans to disclose their cryptocurrency exposures and related activities to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.
The government will also work with provinces and territories to discuss crypto disclosures by Canada’s largest pension plans, to ensure Canadians are aware of their plan’s potential exposure to these assets.
The budget also proposed amendments to the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 and the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act to improve retirement security for plan members and retirees through new frameworks for variable payment life annuities and technical housekeeping amendments. The proposal to allow VPLAs as a decumulation option for defined contribution pension plan members was initially introduced in the 2019 budget.
And the government said it will introduce tax changes to facilitate the creation of employee ownership trusts. “Selling the business to employees would become a more attractive proposition for owners looking to exit and employee-owned businesses would be able to re-invest more of their profits in growth,” noted the budget.
In the 2021 budget, the government committed to engaging with stakeholders to examine what barriers exist to the creation of these trusts and, in the 2022 budget, it proposed creating them.