While the 2019 Canadian budget was eagerly anticipated by all Canadians, there were items that directly impacted members of the type 1 diabetes (T1D) community. So what does the 2019 federal budget mean for you?
The Disability Tax Credit Campaign Continues
In 2017, the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) was restored for more than one thousand adults living with T1D but JDRF continued to push for changes that would eliminate the fear that members of the T1D community could lose their benefits. This push came in the form of our 2019 Pre-Budget submission and one of these was announced as part of the 2019 budget.
The Canadian government announced that they would end the clawback of government contributions to Registered Disability Savings Plans in the event that Disability Tax Credit eligibility is lost. Losing one’s DTC status doesn’t indicate a change in actual circumstances, and the same financial challenges and need for long-term financial security may still apply. While the community waits to learn more information about any restrictions that might apply to how a beneficiary can access these amounts, it’s encouraging to see this as part of the 2019 budget.
But the fight continues. More Canadians should qualify for the DTC and carb counting should be considered an eligible activity when qualifying for the DTC. In addition, the number of hours Canadians with T1D must spend on eligible activities should be reduced from 14 hours to 10 hours.
Stem Cell Network
The 2019 budget noted that the Stem Cell Network will receive funding of $18 million over three years, starting in 2019. This is big news for the advancement of regenerative medicine and the opportunities stem cell research creates for the T1D community. The Stem Cell Network has been supporting a clinical trial led by Dr. James Shapiro, the University of Alberta surgeon who led the team on the Edmonton Protocol. Dr. Shapiro’s trial tests whether an implantable device can allow a successful and long-term graft of insulin producing beta cells, potentially leading to a functional recovery for thousands of Canadians living with T1D.
Every single member of the T1D community knows that coverage for the cost of insulin would alleviate many stresses. Thanks to the voices of Advocates across the country, the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare published their interim report making the following recommendations, which the federal government committed to implementing in the 2019 budget:
- The creation of the Canadian Drug Agency to negotiate better prescription drug prices on behalf of Canadians
- A national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases to help patients have better and more consistent coverage for their treatments
- The development of a national formulary to create a consistent approach to drug formulary listing across the country. This recommendation is a step towards insulin coverage for all.