Dental hygienists across Canada have raised concerns about the pay disparity affecting their profession. The pay disparity involves the Canadian Dental Care Plan. The plan is currently reimbursing hygienists working in dental offices at a higher rate than those that work independently – despite offering the same services. Health Minister Mark Holland is looking into this concerning situation.

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Dental hygienists across Canada have raised concerns regarding the perceived double standards over a pay disparity relating to the rollout of the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) [1].

The pay disparity refers to the difference in reimbursements provided to independent dental hygienists in comparison to those who work in dental offices [1].

However, Health Minister Mark Holland has assured hygienists that he is looking into the situation, and hopes to resolve the issues to ensure fairness [1].

The role of dental hygienists

Dental hygienists play a crucial role in dentistry. Whilst dentists typically provide support for the entirety of a patient’s oral health, hygienists usually specialize and provide services for more targeted areas.

For example, many hygienists provide services purely for gum health. With gum disease being so common, hygienists can help to improve gum health for many patients.

Similarly, dental hygienists are offering some services in the CDCP. The CDCP continues to be rolled out, with many people signing up for the plan over the last few weeks.

Both hygienists at dental offices and independent hygienists are partaking in the plan. It is this distinction which has led to problems developing.

Double standards

Under the current approach, dental hygienists that offer services at a private hygiene clinic are paid significantly less than those that work in dental offices [1].

Therefore, despite offering the same services, there is a disparity in reimbursement under the CDCP. Understandably, this has caused significant concern for many.

Independent hygienists are currently being reimbursed 15% less than those in dental offices [1]. This is a large disparity which is disadvantaging those in private clinics.

The uneven reimbursement system has been copied over from a federal benefit program that has been in place in recent years [1].

But this plan was in place for a smaller number of people, rather than a national plan that could eventually involve millions of patients.

Now, the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) have raised their concerns about this situation.

Holland’s comments

These concerns have prompted Health Minister Mark Holland to discuss the situation. Holland is actively looking into the problem [1].

Holland has played a key role in the CDCP. While the rollout is underway, problems remain, with this situation the latest example of this.

Holland said that “I’m concerned about that too”, in response to the current situation [1]. Moreover, Holland exclaimed that he hasn’t “been convinced by the rationale defending it” [1].

The CEO of the CDHA – Ondina Love – has said that Holland “has assured us, and his office has assured us, that they will be looking at implementing pay parity” [1].

However, while this is a positive sign, Love says that “we haven’t been given a timeline” [1]. This suggests that it could be a while before parity in reimbursements happens.

But Holland says that he wants to provide more certainty “very soon” – raising hopes that the issue will be fixed sooner rather than later [1].

Holland has praised the work of dental hygienists, saying that their work is integral to the success of the CDCP [1]. Moreover, he has praised them for assisting in communities where there is a shortage of dental professionals.


There are both positives and negatives to this. It is positive that dental hygienists are getting recognition for their work, and that the CDHA are looking out for their members.

However, the ongoing pay disparity is concerning, and it isn’t known when it will be fixed. Holland’s comments though do suggest that changes should be happening soon.

Hopefully, parity in pay will be provided soon, which will allow hygienists across Canada to focus on providing excellent oral healthcare to their patients.

Thinking points…

[1] While dental hygienists can offer excellent services, they aren’t a replacement for dentists. Therefore, remember to visit your dentist at least twice a year, so that they can give you an overview of your oral health. If treatment is needed, they’ll be able to assist. We recommend that you book an appointment soon!

[2] As mentioned earlier, many people have gum disease. However, treating it can be difficult. But dental hygienists are able to help and can provide targeted treatments for the gums, including offering services like root planing or scaling. If you are in need of help with your gums, we recommend that you visit a dental hygienist.

What we offer at Taradale Dental

Taradale Dental is a dental clinic based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. At our Calgary dental clinic, we provide a range of services for our patients.

We advise our patients to attend our Calgary dental clinic at least twice per year for a regular dental check-up. At these check-ups, we provide a comprehensive review of a patient’s oral health. If any problems are detected, we have many treatments available. For example, these include cavity fillings and root canals. To strengthen your oral health, we recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly.

Here at Taradale Dental, we also have some cosmetic treatments available! These include dental implants, teeth whitening and Invisalign™! Our patients find that these treatments have a positive impact on their appearance, confidence and self-esteem.

Moreover, the fees of our treatments at our Calgary dental clinic Taradale Dental are set in line with the Alberta Dental Fee Guide. This ensures transparent and fair pricing, with no hidden costs.

We hope to see you soon at our Taradale Dental clinic in Calgary! You can find out more about us by visiting our website!


[1] Osman, L. (2024). Health minister committed to fixing dental-care double standard: hygienists. Available: Last accessed: 17th May 2024.