Ottawa will give $650 annually to low and mid-income families for kids’ dental care, sources say

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to announce new measures to tackle inflation, including details of measures for dental care for low-income families, a one-time benefit for low-income renters and a temporary boost to the GST credit — all part of a plan to fulfil a deal between the federal Liberals and the NDP.

Sources in both parties told CBC News that Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh were supposed to announce the details in separate announcements on Thursday — but the Queen’s death led them to postpone the official release of the details.

Under the proposed legislation, the government will give money to pay for dental visits for children under 12 directly to families who earn $90,000 or less. According to multiple NDP sources, parents from low and middle-income families will receive $650 annually for two years per child to pay for dental visits.

The sources spoke under condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. 

The payments will be a stop-gap measure meant to cover low-income families while the government works out a permanent dental-care program. Eventually the government could issue a dental card that families could present during appointments to allow dentists to bill the government.

The Liberals and the NDP signed a supply and confidence agreement in March, under which the latter promised to provide the minority government with enough votes on key pieces of legislation in exchange for advancing New Democrat campaign platforms. A dental-care plan was part of that agreement. 

But another, targeted spending measure that wasn’t in the deal is also expected to be announced. The government is set to double the GST tax credit for low-income Canadians to help them cope with the rising cost of living.

For months, New Democrats have been calling for the government to help people by doubling the GST tax credit. Canadians can receive up to $467 in GST credit payments if you are single, $612 if you are married or have a common-law partner plus $161 for each child under the age of 19.

The parties were also expected to announce today the long-awaited housing benefit top-up. The NDP-Liberal agreement promised renters a $500 one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit this year.

These measures would be put forward in a bill when Parliament resumes sitting Sept. 19.

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