Diabetes Canada is pleased to note the commitment today that a Conservative government would introduce the Fairness for Persons with Disabilities Act, expanding access for people with diabetes to the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and calls on all federal parties to make similar commitments.
“Diabetes Canada calls on all federal political parties to commit to broadening eligibility criteria for the DTC for people with diabetes, and to implement a nation-wide strategy – Diabetes 360˚ – to end the diabetes epidemic in Canada,” says Kimberley Hanson, Executive Director, Federal Affairs for Diabetes Canada.
Under this new legislation, eligibility criteria for the DTC, under the category of life-sustaining therapy, would be reduced from 14 hours per week to 10 hours per week. Additionally, the criteria as to what is categorized as life-sustaining therapy would be expanded to include determining dosages of medical food and activities related to determining dosages of medication, including dietary or exercise regimes.
“These changes to DTC eligibility criteria would greatly enhance the ability of people living with diabetes to access the program,” says Hanson. “In addition, the financial relief it would provide, which would be an average of $2,100 per year, would be welcomed as there are many out-of-pocket costs associated with diabetes care.”
Diabetes Canada has been actively advocating for fairer access to the DTC for people living with diabetes for many years. In 2017, it successfully advocated against the Canadian Revenue Agency administrative changes, which prevented people living with the disease from accessing the financial support of the DTC. This advocacy work was also instrumental in reinstating the Disability Advisory Committee—a group of patient advocates who advise the CRA on the administration of the DTC.
The Disability Advisory Committee recommended in its 2019 Annual Report that eligibility criteria under life-sustaining therapies be simplified to state that individuals who require life-sustaining therapies are eligible for the DTC, and these therapies include, but are not limited to, intensive insulin therapy for type 1 diabetes.
“While Diabetes Canada supports the recommendations of the Disability Advisory Committee as they are more straightforward, today’s commitment for expanding eligibility criteria is a step in the right direction,” says Hanson. “Furthermore, as the DTC remains a non-refundable tax credit, it does not help low income-earning Canadians. Changes that expand access to Canadians of all income levels should be prioritized.”
About Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is found in five to 10 per cent of Canadians with diabetes and occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin, a hormone that controls the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, and it is not preventable. It most commonly begins in childhood and occurs when a person’s immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.
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:
- 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).