In its 2022 budget, the Canadian federal government committed to providing greater universality for drug coverage and dental care. Insurers can play a key role in making it happen.

The federal government designed its budget proposal to extend drug coverage and dental care to Canadians who do not have it today. It’s a goal that we support, as millions of Canadians could benefit from this expanded health coverage.

The critical role of insurers in Canada’s health care system

In Canada, public and private payers (typically insurers of workplace plans) have worked together for decades, delivering first-rate health care. 

Supplementary health insurance covers 26 million Canadians – nearly 70% of the population. The majority of this coverage is through workplace benefits plans. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) tracks insurance spending on health benefits. In 2020, private insurers covered:

$12.5 billion in prescription drug expenses, 
representing more than 35% of total prescription drug spending in Canada

$7.2 billion in dental care expenses,
 representing more than 50% of all dental care spending in Canada

$420 million in psychology-related claims 
to support mental health – a nearly 25% increase from 2019.

The path towards universal coverage

Canada has a proud history of providing its citizens with first-rate health care. The system leverages the strengths of both government and private insurers to deliver this care.


The expansion of this system to provide broader universality will benefit millions of Canadians. We must do this in a way that:

  • Is financially sustainable for the long-term
  • Maintains the high standards of care and coverage that millions of Canadians enjoy through workplace plans
  • Embraces innovations that can both improve care and deliver it in an affordable way.

The government’s goal of eliminating gaps in coverage for both drug coverage and dental care is a worthy one. It’s an ambitious undertaking too. And if we work together, it’s one that has every chance of success.

You can download the full report here. It provides a snapshot of how new government changes could affects group benefits plan. It also highlights the role of insurers and workplace benefit plans in supporting the health of Canadians.

This report provides you with general information only. It doesn’t provide you with employment, legal, health, or financial advice. Consult with the appropriate professional advisor to meet your organization’s needs.