The Department of Finance has asked the Parliamentary Budget Office to withhold public release of in-house data on a federal dentacare program. The Budget Office sought figures on the cost and scope of the plan promised by 2025.

“We respectfully request that you do not disclose the data publicly or share it outside of your organization,” the department wrote in a May 19 letter to the Budget Office. No reason was given.

Budget Officer Yves Giroux sought complete details of the dentacare plan. “I am requesting the eligibility criteria, details on the types of procedures covered and co-payment rates that were used to cost the new Canadian dental care plan measure in Budget 2023 and a description of any relevant assumptions such as inflation indexation of income levels, plan administration costs, etcetera,” wrote Giroux.

The Budget Office in a March 22, 2022 report put costs of the program at $4.6 billion annually by 2025. “We estimate that close to 6.5 million Canadians will benefit from the proposed program during the first year,” wrote analysts.

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