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Premier Smith says Alberta plans to opt out of federal dental care plan by 2026

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says the province plans to opt out of the federal government’s dental care plan by 2026.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Smith says the program infringes on provincial jurisdiction.

She says in the meantime she wants to negotiate getting Alberta’s share of the federal funding in order for the province to support dental care as it sees fit.

The $13-billion program began covering younger children and seniors in May and is being expanded to all those under 18 and people with disabilities.

Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange’s office says the Canadian Dental Care Plan duplicates coverage provided by Alberta’s low-income dental programs.

The Canadian Dental Association has raised concerns about the voluntary federal program, saying confusion over what is covered and who qualifies has added extra pressure at dental offices and undermines patient care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 26, 2024.

The Canadian Press