Advertisement

Peter Watts: Denial of disability tax credit to diabetics causes ‘furor’

The CRA had concluded that Type 1 diabetics were not using 14 hours of their time each week to manage their insulin therapy, which was the minimum required in the agency's view.
The CRA had concluded that Type 1 diabetics were not using 14 hours of their time each week to manage their insulin therapy, which was the minimum required in the agency's view. AP File Photo/David J. Phillip

The Canada Revenue Agency is taking steps to quell a furor over what critics were calling its heartless treatment of diabetics.

Last May, the CRA told its staff not to honour claims for the disability tax credit. The agency had concluded that Type 1 diabetics were not using 14 hours of their time each week to manage their insulin therapy, which was the minimum required in the agency’s view.

This came as something of a shock to disability advocates.

“There are at least 300,000 diabetics in Canada and perhaps 100,000 would be on a therapy program that previously had qualified them for the credit,” Diabetes Canada’s Kimberley Hansen said. “It’s taken far longer than we thought it should take to resolve this issue, but the CRA finally acknowledged that, in fact, claims should be eligible for the tax credit.”

READ MORE: CRA to review denied disability tax credit claims for diabetics

Story continues below advertisement

The CRA now says it will revert to the clarification letter that existed prior to May of this year. The agency says it will also review all applications for the disability tax credit that have been denied, dating back to May 2 when the revised rules were put in place.

It’s very likely that more than just Type 1 diabetics were affected by this decision. The reversal comes as the calendar year is ending and it means that Canadians who are eligible should be able to note their use of the disability tax credit on their 2017 income tax returns.

But as Ronald Reagan once said in a different context, “Trust but verify.” Hansen tells me that Diabetes Canada will be doing just that.

LISTEN: Kimberley Hansen of Diabetes Canada, reports on an argument with Canada Revenue Agency over the disability tax credit.