Unanimous vote of members of the Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) brings equitable access to the Disability Tax Credit closer
Thursday June 2, 2022, Toronto, ON – This week we saw a major step forward in the effort to ensure all Canadians living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) can access the federal Disability Tax Credit. Members of the Federal Government’s Standing Committee on Finance (FINA), representing all parties, voted unanimously to pass an amendment that will ensure all Canadians living with type 1 diabetes can access the tax credit and ease the financial burden caused by unavoidable and necessary life-saving expenses. Over 300,000 Canadians currently live with T1D.
T1D is an expensive disease, often requiring financial assistance to cover the medications, devices, and supplies associated with the daily management of this chronic condition. The motion to amend the Budget Bill (C-19) was unanimously approved by the FINA committee and is intended to address longstanding issues with how the Disability Tax Credit has been accessible to Canadians with T1D.
The current requirements for the Disability Tax Credit are rife with inequities in access due to arbitrary and outdated practices. The proposed amendment before Parliament to the Income Tax Act would automatically qualify Canadians living with T1D, removing a significant barrier to care.
Members of the Standing Committee on Finance discussed and unanimously passed the motion on Monday, May 30 after hearing from experts in the medical community and families impacted by T1D about the need for change.
The committee heard personal stories, like that of Matt Stimpson, who lives with T1D and applied for the Disability Tax Credit at the same time as his 14-year-old daughter Tilly. Tilly was approved, and Matt was not, even though they live with the same condition and their costs incurred are relatively the same.
Among the witnesses, Dr. Alanna Weisman, an endocrinologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital implored the committee to address the problem of arbitrary hours of weekly care required to access the Disability Tax Credit. “People with type 1 diabetes should not have to worry about how they are going to pay for insulin, supplies, advanced glucose monitoring devices or insulin pumps. Those costs exist regardless of how much time is spent per week on the management of their disease,” she explained.
Individuals with T1D report spending up to $15,000 per year out of pocket on these unavoidable, life-saving costs.
“It has been really sad to see people with type 1 diabetes denied the Disability Tax Credit due to how forms were filled out, or because of an arbitrary number of hours it stipulates they must spend managing the particularities of their disease,” said Dave Prowten, President and CEO of JDRF Canada. “This motion moves forward a correction to an injustice that people with type 1 diabetes have been living with for too long. We are looking forward to watching Parliament debate the amended bill C-19 and are hopeful the bill will carry and deliver much-needed support to thousands of Canadians living with type 1 diabetes,” he continues.
Since 2017, JDRF has been actively seeking change in the Disability Tax Credit.
“The T1D community is elated with this progress and support from all FINA members. We look forward to continued support across all party lines for much-needed amendment,” says Anne Pettigrew, National Youth Champion with JDRF Canada.
JDRF works every day to change the reality of this disease for millions of people globally—and to prevent anyone else from ever knowing it—by funding research, advocating for government support of research and new therapies, ensuring new therapies come to market and offering support through connecting and engaging the T1D community.
“We must keep up the pace of funding and policy change so progress doesn’t slow or stop entirely, and we can turn type one into type none,” added Pettigrew.
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Michelle van Vliet
National Director, Marketing and Communications