A dentist holds instruments in Skokie, Ill., on Friday, June 12, 2020. The House of Commons standing committee on health voted Monday night to adopt Bill C-31, sending it back to the House for a vote. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

House of Commons to vote on bill for dental care benefit, rental support this week

A major part of the federal government’s affordability plan is expected to pass final reading in the House of Commons this week, after the Liberals fast-tracked Bill C-31 through the health committee Monday night.

The bill, which includes a new dental-care benefit for children under 12 in low- and modest-income families and a one-time $500 allowance for low-income renters, is expected to come to a vote in the House on Thursday.

The dental benefit is a key element of the supply-and-confidence agreement between the Liberals and the NDP, and is meant to be an interim measure while the government works on a more complete dental-care program.

Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux testified before the Senate Finance Committee about the proposed benefits this morning.

The PBO estimates the dental benefit will cost $703 million, while the rental support will cost up to $940 million.

The third plank in the Liberals’ plan to help people cope with the rising cost of living was passed last week with the support of all parties, doubling the GST benefit for the next six months.

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