Liberal faction leader Philippe Couillard says his party will invest $ 150 million a year to extend dental coverage to more young and aging Quebecs if it gets a second mandate.
The announcement anticipates the provincial elections, scheduled for 1 October, and during a continuing conflict between the dentists of the province and the government.
"We double the budget for dental care," said Couillard during a press conference on Sunday morning in the Cégep de Chicoutimi.
The investment would extend the free basic dental coverage for children aged 10 to 16, and for seniors who receive a guaranteed income allowance from the government.
Currently, the provincial health insurance plan, the basic dental care for children under the age of 10 and people with social security benefits who have not worked for 12 months in a row are currently falling under RAMQ. People with low incomes and people with unstable jobs are not covered at all.
General dental services include an annual examination, radiography, anesthesia, crowns, fillings and extractions, endodontics (including root canal treatment) and dental surgery, but not cleaning or fluoride flushing.
Seniors who receive the supplement with guaranteed income are those who earn less than $ 18,096 per year for a single person and $ 23,904 for a single person.
The new dental plan would affect more than a million Quebecers, Couillard said.
Dentists in labor conflict
Earlier this month, the union of oral surgeons in Québec, representing 4,300 dentists in the province, said members would withdraw from the RAMQ if they could not reach a new contract agreement with the government on August 25.
The government has already signed a decree that would prevent this, but the dentists say they will challenge it in court. They have no employment contract since 2015.
"Today we announce an improvement of the regime, as the Oral Surgeon Association said it wished during the negotiations," said Couillard.
The dentists say that health minister Gaetan Barrette wants to make changes that will lower their annual income. They earn an average of $ 180,000 per year.
The labor dispute appeared to be a spotlight at the level of dental care Quebec offers to those who are not covered by private insurance plans.
Québec Solidaire promises free dental care for everyone
In response to Couillard's announcement, the Québec Solidarity Coordinator (QS), Manon Massé, said that the liberals "dust an old promise from Jean Charest", Quebec's former liberal prime minister.
Massé's feast offers free dental coverage for everyone in the province.
"The liberals had 15 years to do something, and they did nothing," she said in a statement.
In response, Couillard said that the government must be "realistic".
He said that once the negotiations with the Oral Surgeon Association have been completed, more details about his plan will be revealed.
With files from CBC & # 39; s Cathy Senay and La Presse Canadienne