October 04, 2017

Diabetes Canada and several leading health organizations unite to demand fair and equitable access to disability tax credit for people with diabetes

CRA practices deny people with diabetes much needed tax relief and over-burden health care providers 

Diabetes Canada is concerned with recent changes in practice at the Canada Revenue Agency that has seen rates of allowances for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) for people with diabetes plummet where more than 80 per cent of the applications being received are now being denied, whereas a year ago 80 per cent were being approved.

The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit used to reduce income tax and a person with a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions may claim the disability amount once eligible. One of the eligibility criteria is that a person must dedicate 14 hours per week for life-sustaining therapy. People with type 1 diabetes spend more than that managing their diabetes and many people who have applied for the DTC have had their claims denied.

“The complexity, effort and time required to self-manage diabetes is significant, involving as many as 600 steps every day, with the insulin injection process alone involving 40 steps,” says Russell Williams, vice-president of Government Relations and Public Policy at Diabetes Canada. Despite physicians having duly certified, in accordance with the Income Tax Act, that their patients require more than 14 hours a week for their insulin therapy, applicants are now being denied on the basis that “the type of therapy indicated does not meet the 14 hour per week criteria.” These denials are in contradiction of the certifications provided by licensed medical practitioners and do not appear to be based on evidence.

Diabetes Canada invited other key health organizations to issue an open letter to Minister Lebouthillier to address this issue.  JDRF, the Canadian Society for Endocrinology and Metabolism, the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Nurses’ Association and BC Diabetes are supporting Diabetes Canada’s request to Canada Revenue Agency to accept the certifications of medical professionals regarding their patient’s individual circumstances and commit to working with these organizations to ensure access to the DTC for Canadians living with diabetes who rightfully qualify.

“We’ve been hearing from many people across Canada and this is troubling as the costs of managing this challenging and expensive disease are significant and increasing,” says Williams. “Diabetes Canada is investigating this issue and encouraging CRA to engage in open and transparent stakeholder consultations and communications on the matter.”

If you are impacted by this issue, please consider sending a letter to your MP to request support. Find your MP here

Diabetes Canada has also developed a template for concerned individuals to personalize and share with their MP. Click here to download.

About Diabetes Canada

Diabetes Canada is the registered national charitable organization that is making the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. Diabetes Canada partners with Canadians to End Diabetes through:

  • Educational programs and support services;
  • Resources for health-care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
  • Advocacy to governments, schools and workplaces; and
  • Funding world-leading Canadian research to improve treatments and find a cure.

For more information, visit diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

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For more information or to book an interview:

Sherry Calder
Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications
Diabetes Canada
T: 902-453-3529
C: 902-210-1799