OTTAWA – The Canada Revenue Agency is taking steps to quell a furor over what critics were calling its heartless treatment of diabetics.
Disability advocates and opposition parties have been excoriating the agency for weeks over the fact that many Canadians with Type 1 diabetes have suddenly found themselves ineligible to claim the disability tax credit, even though they’ve previously qualified for it.
The CRA insists there’s been no change in the eligibility criteria, which requires an individual to spend at least 14 hours a week engaged in activities related to the administration of insulin.
But diabetes support groups point to an internal CRA clarification letter last May, which said only in “exceptional circumstances” would adult diabetics need 14 hours a week to manage their insulin therapy; most would not – which would mean they’re not eligible for the tax credit.
The CRA now says it will revert to the clarification letter that existed prior to May.
It will also review all applications for the disability tax credit that have been denied based on the May letter.
Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier has also reinstated a 14-member disability advisory committee to help the CRA and the minister improve the way they administer tax measures aimed at helping disabled Canadians.
On Friday, she released the names of the committee members.
Their ranks include representatives of Diabetes Canada and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. The committee is to be chaired by CRA assistant commissioner Frank Vermaeten and Karen Cohen, chief executive of the Canadian Psychological Association.