FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government and the New Brunswick Dental Society have reached a new contract to continue providing dental services to more than 51,000 social development clients.

"We are pleased that we have reached an agreement with the New Brunswick Dental Society that achieves a good balance between managing the provincial government's finances responsibly and recognizing the important work of dentists," said Social Development Minister Sue Stultz. "With this contract, we are enhancing the quality of life of our clients while living within our means."    

The contract is retroactive to April 1, 2011, and will run until March 31, 2015. It increases the rates for service paid by the department to members of the dental society to 81.5 per cent of the current dental fee guide from 68 per cent by April 1, 2014.   

"We are pleased an agreement has been struck in these hard economic times," said Dr. Kent Orlando, president of the dental society. "The New Brunswick Dental Society will continue to work with the department to encourage improved access to care and to make the plan more comprehensive for our patients."

During the contract, the department will invest an estimated $21 million in dental services for social development clients.