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Qualifying for the Disability Tax Credit will now be easier

Diabetes Canada is extremely pleased with official news today of recent changes to the Income Tax Act, expanding the eligibility criteria specific to the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) for Canadians with type 1 diabetes. 

The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit that helps reduce income taxes for people with disabilities. Until now one of the eligibility criteria from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is that a person must dedicate 14 hours per week for life-sustaining therapy. With today’s announcement Canadians living with type 1 diabetes applying for the DTC under Life-Sustaining Therapy will no longer be required to prove they spend at least 14 hours per week on activities related to administering insulin

“This is a long awaited and important step to ensuring fair and equitable access to the DTC for both people living with type 1 diabetes and their certifying licensed medical practitioners,” says Laura Syron, President & CEO Diabetes Canada. “Managing a complex chronic illness like diabetes also comes with financial burden and this enhancement will help offset costs incurred by Canadians living with type 1 diabetes.”

The cost of managing diabetes is significant and increasing. Those using insulin pumps and glucose monitoring systems may face out-of-pocket costs of more than $15,000 per year. Even Canadians who are eligible for public coverage or have employer-sponsored health insurance have significant out-of-pocket costs for the medication, devices and supplies required to manage this life-long condition. Studies show that these costs adversely affect the ability of some people to follow their prescribed treatment, resulting in increased risk of developing one or more of the serious complications such as heart disease, amputations or blindness, and thereby exacerbating the impact of the condition on the individual, their family, community, employer, and Canada’s health care system.

Managing type 1 diabetes has been compared to the complexity of flying a plane, by a study that found it can take up to 600 steps each day to contend with all that goes into living with the disease. "I’m excited about this long overdue news regarding the DTC,” says John Whitehead who lives with type 1 diabetes (T1D). “Management of T1D is complex and expensive. Removing administrative barriers will go a long way in treating people with T1D more fairly and this will help relieve some of the financial burden of dealing with this condition.”

For several years Diabetes Canada and other key health organizations have been urging CRA to address unfair access to the DTC.

“We celebrate this critical improvement for the type 1 diabetes community. Diabetes Canada believes that anyone who is on intensive insulin therapy regardless of whether they are living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should qualify for the DTC because unfortunately, without insulin they would not survive or they could face serious life-threatening challenges,” says Syron. “We look forward to working with the government to ensure that more people living with diabetes have fair access to the DTC.”

Diabetes Canada is working hard to see improvements for people living with diabetes from coast to coast to coast through our advocacy initiatives including the National Diabetes Framework set to be tabled in Parliament this year. This change to the DTC is a step in the right direction.

Diabetes Canada looks forward to reviewing and understanding details about the implementation process. For more information about the Disability Tax Credit, please contact Canada Revenue Agency.

Category Tags: Advocacy & Policy;

Region: National

About Diabetes Canada

A world free of the effects of diabetes is our vision. That’s why we’re working together to improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes. We’re sharing knowledge and creating connections for individuals and the health-care professionals who care for them; advocating through public policy; and funding research to improve treatments and find a cure to end diabetes.

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

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Sherry Calder, Communications