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Eligible Medical Expenses
Canadian Tax and
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amounts paid to medical practitioners, dentists, nurses, and
certain other medical professionals. Note that for the cost of the
service by a medical practitioner to qualify as an allowable medical
expense, the person providing the service must be recognized as a
"medical practitioner" according to the laws of the
jurisdiction in which the service is provided. For instance,
a registered massage therapist (in BC, registered with the College
of Massage Therapists of BC) is recognized as a medical practitioner in
BC, Ontario, and some other provinces, but not in all provinces.
amounts paid to public or licensed private hospitals
payments made to organizations for medical services rendered by their
employees or partners. Examples are physiotherapy or homemaker
services rendered in the taxpayer's home.
eyeglass frames and lenses and contact lenses prescribed by a
premiums paid to a private health services plan, such as
travel medical insurance (must be insurance which will cover only
eligible medical expenses - see CRA technical interpretation 2007-0229901E5.pdf), extended
health benefits or a dental plan, other than those fees paid by an
employer. Fees paid for a provincial or territorial health care plan
(medical or hospitalization) do not qualify, but premiums for Nova
Scotia Pharmacare do qualify - see CRA technical interpretation 2006-0205931E5.pdf. If a person is self employed, the premiums paid for
a private health services plan can be deducted from self employment
income, instead of being claimed as a medical expense. This
would result in greater (or at least equal) tax savings, and is a way to
provide a tax-free benefit to employees of a small business. See our
article on private health
premiums paid for medical coverage during trips out
of the country
transportation service costs, where the taxpayer has to travel at
least 40 km to the location where the required medical services are
provided, as long as substantially equivalent medical services are not
available in the taxpayers locality. If the taxpayer has been
certified by a medical practitioner to be incapable of travelling without
the assistance of an attendant, then the transportation service costs of
the attendant may also be claimed. If the taxpayer has
to travel at least 80 km (one way) for the medical services, then reasonable travel
expenses (meals, lodging, vehicle expenses including parking) may also be claimed.
The travel costs can be calculated by keeping all
receipts, or by using the CRA meal expense allowance
and vehicle cost per kilometre amounts. See the
CRA web page on travel
expenses for medical expense, which links to information on meal and
vehicle rates used to calculate travel
expenses for medical travel for each province. Note that the
simplified method meal rate is increased
to $23 per meal from $17, effective Jan 1, 2020.
costs of the following devices (Income
Tax Act s. 118.2(2)(i))
rocking beds for polio victims
spinal braces or limb braces
ileostomy or colostomy pads
laryngeal speaking aids
artificial kidney machines
phototherapy equipment for treatment of psoriasis
or other skin disorders
oxygen concentrator - this includes CPAP
(continuous positive airway pressure) machine for sleep apnea
costs of diapers, disposable briefs, catheters, catheter trays, tubing or
other products required by the patient by reason of incontinence caused by
injury, illness, or affliction
costs of oxygen tent or other equipment for administering oxygen
or for insulin, oxygen, liver extract injectible for pernicious anemia or
vitamin B12 for pernicious anemia, for use by the patient as
prescribed by a medical practitioner
for blind or profoundly deaf patients, or those that have a severe
and prolonged impairment that markedly restricts the use of the patient's
arms or legs, the costs of an animal specially trained to assist the
patient with the impairment, including the costs of food and veterinary
care, reasonable travel expenses for the patient to travel to a facility
that trains such animals and individuals so impaired, and reasonable board
and lodging expenses of the patient while in full-time attendance at such
reasonable expenses incurred in respect of bone marrow or organ
transplants, including legal fees and insurance premiums to locate a
compatible donor and to arrange for the transplant, and reasonable travel,
board and lodging expenses of the donor (and one other person who
accompanies the donor) and the patient (and one other person who
accompanies the patient)
reasonable expenses relating to renovations or alterations to a
dwelling to enable a disabled patient to gain access to, or to be
mobile or functional within the dwelling. Note
that a hot tub is not an eligible medical expense,
even if it is prescribed by a medical
practitioner. The Income Tax Act [s. 118.2(2)(1.2) and
118.2(2)(1.21)] disallows home alterations or construction costs unless
are not of a type that would typically be expected
to increase the value of the dwelling, and
are of a type that would not normally be incurred
by persons who have normal physical development or who do not have a
severe and prolonged mobility impairment.
If the renovations also qualify for the Home
Accessibility Tax Credit or a Home Renovation Tax Credit, both
tax credits (or all three) can be claimed for the same expense.
reasonable incremental costs related to the construction of the
patient's principal place of residence, to enable the disabled patient
to gain access to, or to be mobile or functional within the dwelling
costs of rehabilitative therapy, including training in lip reading and
sign language, incurred to adjust for the patient's hearing or speech
loss, as well as sign language interpretation services
reasonable moving expenses incurred for the purpose of a disabled
patient's move to a dwelling that is more accessible by the patient, or in
which the patient is more mobile or functional, to a maximum of $2,000
($2,812 for Ontario METC for 2017, $2,768 for 2016)
reasonable costs for driveway alterations for the principal place
of residence of a patient with severe and prolonged mobility impairment
a portion of the cost of a van, up to $5,000 ($7,033 for Ontario METC for
2017, $6,922 for 2016) which has been adapted for
the transportation of a patient who requires the use of a wheelchair
costs of tutoring services for a person with a learning
disability or mental impairment. A medical practitioner must
certify that the services are required
prescription drugs that have been prescribed by a medical practitioner and
recorded by a pharmacist
costs of diagnostic procedures and services prescribed by a medical
practitioner or dentist
costs of dentures, dental services, and orthodontia services
costs of devices or equipment for use by the patient that are
prescribed by a medical practitioner, and are of a "prescribed"
kind as listed in the Income
Tax Act Regulation 5700, Medical Devices and Equipment. See
Tax Act Regulations Part LVII S. 5700 Medical Expense Tax Credit. Some of the prescribed equipment
includes wigs, needles and syringes, orthopedic shoes and inserts,
hospital beds, breast prostheses, and talking textbooks. For your
convenience we've created a searchable pdf of Regulation
5700 as it was on December 23, 2015. As of September 25,
2019 there have been no changes to this Regulation.
the cost of real-time captioning and similar
services used by persons with an impairment.
the incremental cost of purchasing gluten-free food
products for individuals with Celiac disease who require a
gluten-free diet. Those with Celiac disease should ensure they retain
itemized receipts for all gluten-free products.
oocyte preservation - thawing of eggs and embryos and sperm
freezing, when medically indicated, under certain circumstances.
interpretation 2015-0612331I7 on the Video Tax News website.
medical costs related to the use of reproductive technologies.
Budget 2017 proposes to
clarify the application of the medical expense tax credit so that
individuals who require medical intervention in order to conceive a
child are eligible to claim the same expenses that would generally be
eligible for individuals on account of medical infertility. This
applies to 2017 and subsequent taxation years, but a taxpayer will be
entitled to elect in a year for this measure to apply for any of the
immediately preceding ten taxation years in their return of income in
respect of that year.
If devices mentioned above have not been purchased
directly from a doctor, dentist, nurse or hospital, make sure you have
something in writing from your medical practitioner to indicate that the
device is medically required.
Cannabis as an Eligible Medical
Income Tax Act s. 118.2(2)(u), Cannabis Regulations s.
Previously, the cost of cannabis products could be eligible
for the medical expense tax credit (METC) when they were purchased for a patient
for medical purposes as per the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes
Regulations, under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
With the legalization of cannabis, as of October 17, 2018,
eligible medical expenses include, for a patient who is the holder of an
appropriate medical document, the cost of cannabis, cannabis oil,
cannabis plant seeds or cannabis products purchased for medical purposes from a
holder of a licence for sale for medical purposes of cannabis products.
The individual purchasing the cannabis product must be registered as a client
of the holder of a licence for sale. This measure was
included in Bill C-97
which received Royal Assent in June 2019. See Licensed
cultivators, processors and sellers of cannabis under the Cannabis Act.
Cannabis-related Definitions under the Cannabis
Regulations s. 264(1):
Medical document: means a document
provided by a health care practitioner to support the use of cannabis for
Licence for sale: means a licence for sale for
The wording of the Income Tax Act was changed in order to
make it clear that medical or dental services or related expenses which are
provided for purely cosmetic purposes are not eligible medical expenses
for purposes of the medical expense tax credit, unless the services are
necessary for medical or reconstructive purposes. This is effective for
expenses incurred after March 4, 2010.
For more information, see the following articles on our