Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Mr. Chair, I listened to what concerns the health Minister raised, and I think that they're very valid concerns. And I wanted to address some of them here before I move on.
I think one thing that is very valid in the Minister's concerns identifying that there is a small number of dental hygienists that live in the territory. And most of them live here in Yellowknife. They're serving Northerners. There's a very small number of them serving over half of the population of the Northwest Territories. And so I agree that it's not fair to put all of this on them to draft these regulations. They're very busy people. They're cleaning a lot of teeth right now, and I very much appreciate it and thank them for that. And that's why where I think that some of the conversation about bringing in some additional supports, both to support the work that would be required of the department in order to draft these regulations and also bringing in some additional supports from elsewhere in order to kind of gain some insight into some of the challenges of other jurisdictions.
I'm not a health care professional at all, Mr. Speaker. And so when I was working on this bill, I actually reached out to some other associations across Canada to help me learn about oral health care and about some of the challenges that have presented within legislation in other jurisdictions and in regulation in other jurisdictions, things they wished they did different and things that worked really well for them.
Yesterday I tabled these letters here in the House, and they were very supportive and helpful letters from three associations across Canada. There was the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, the Ontario Dental Hygienists Association, and the British Columbia Dental Hygienists Association.
The president and executive director of the Ontario Hygienists Association shared a four-page letter of valuable suggestions about what to include in this work and concluded the letter with, quote, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions as you move forward, end quote. So very supportive and willing to help.
The executive director of the British Columbia Dental Hygienists Association wrote in a three-page letter stating, quote, over the years, BC dental therapists and certified dental assistants have reached out to the BCDHA for professional support. In recent months, BCDHA has expanded membership for dental therapists and has developed a pilot membership program for CDAs through the CDA Alliance. Thus, we speak not only for dental hygienists in BC, we also carry the voices of both dental therapists and dental assistants. We invite you to speak with us so that our parties can both connect and discuss our perspectives in greater detail. And so not only that, but an organization looking at supporting additional health care -- or oral health workers and also operating in licensing additional folks too and willing to help out and lend their experience.
Lastly, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association and a six-page letter of support and suggestions, including CDHA is very pleased to hear that you're working to improve access to preventative oral health care. Please do not hesitate to contact our director of dental hygiene practice if you require more information or guidance in your quest to draft a proposed amendment to the Dental Auxiliaries Act to broaden the scope of practice of dental hygienists in the Northwest Territories.
So while there's limited dental hygienists here in the territory, there's an abundance of need to improve access, Mr. Chair, and to do the work. And I think that the big key for me that I think shows that -- and while the Minister said that they support this work, but the thing that shows to me that I think they can get it done in this timeline is in the 2018-2019 to 2020-2021 oral health action plan, which is the two-year action plan, the objective to establish systemic supports for improved oral health services has the number activity, which is to -- which speaks to the regulatory environment. And the deliverable there is revised legislation regulations to support the oral health professional role by 2020-2021. And so to me, health has already acknowledged that they can get this work done in this action plan. They weren't able to meet it for 2020-2021. We're now three years later. And so I believe in their original action plan and their original goal to do this work and believe that they will find the support out there to get it done. Thank you.