Reforms to Disability Tax Credit - Canada

Posted on: Fri, 01/03/2003 - 5:28am
DebO's picture
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Joined: 03/15/1999 - 09:00

The Ministry of Finance is presently reviewing the criteria for determining eligibility for the Disability tax credit, partly because of the Court decision awarding the credit to a person with food allergy. They have consulted with the following organizations:

CCRA Consultations on the Disability Tax Credit in 2002

--------------------------------------------

May 28 Office for Disability Issues, Human Resources Development Canada
Council of Canadians with Disabilities
Canadian Association for Community Living
Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
Learning Disabilities Association of Canada
Canadian Paraplegic Association1
Alzheimer Society of Canada
Canadian Mental Health Association
Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped
National Network on Mental Health Inc.
Mood Disorders Society of Canada
Learning Disabilities Association of Canada
Canadian Association for Community Living1
Schizophrenia Society of Canada1
People First of Canada1
July 9 Canadian Medical Association
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Canadian Psychological Association
Canadian Association of Optometrists
Canadian Ophthalmological Society1
Canadian Psychological Association
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Canadian Association of Optometrists
Canadian Medical Association
Aug. 16 Office for Disability Issues, Human Resources Development Canada
Alzheimer Society of Canada
Canadian Mental Health Association (National Office)
Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped
Schizophrenia Society of Canada
National Network on Mental Health Inc.
Mood Disorders Society of Canada
Learning Disabilities Association of Canada
Council of Canadians with Disabilities
People First of Canada
Canadian Association for Community Living
Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres1

Note that they did not speak with Anaphylaxis Canada, for example. I doubt if any of the above associations deal with food allergies as we and our concerns probably have not even been presented.

The consultation process is open to all Canadians who wish to comment, but you MUST comment before January 17.
The link to the Ministry of Finance is as follows:

[url="http://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/disability_e.html"]http://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/disability_e.html[/url]

I think it is important for them to understand the impact of this hidden disability on our lives before abolishing us from the tax credit.

take care

deb

Posted on: Fri, 01/03/2003 - 10:45am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Deb O., yes, it was extremely interesting that they did not consult with Anaphylaxis Canada or even AAIA but a whole list of other places instead. As you said, I doubt that any of them have dealt with food allergies.
Have you written something to them already?
I'm asking because I'm really looking for something to plagarize! LOL! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] Seriously!
I was thinking that perhaps I could use the information that I posted when I started the thread re the credit under Main Discussion in contacting them. What do you think?
As I posted to you in the other thread, I really wonder how many people have even taken advantage of this tax credit, even knew that there was one, and lo and behold, when we do find out about it as a community and decide to do something en masse (okay, who tipped them off? LOL! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] ) they decide to investigate or review it. They simply tick me off. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img]
Many thanks for the link and for bringing this important issue to Take Action. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Fri, 01/03/2003 - 1:47pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Here is what I just submitted. I'm not clear if it's what the government wants or needs to hear but I sent it anyway. I would appreciate opinions as to whether anyone thinks this approach might work or if I should re-write it (use another name!) in a totally different vein. Here goes:-
Dear Sir/Madam:
Hello! I understand that the Ministry of Finance is currently reviewing a decision that
was made only last year to allow food allergic individuals to claim the disability tax
credit on their income tax forms. I would like to submit the following:-
Although the basic guidelines, as I understand them, for allowing food allergic
individuals to claim the credit were due to the inordinate amount of time that the
person had to spend food shopping because of label checking, etc., this is not the
sole or even the main reason a food allergic person would claim their food allergy as
a disability.
I am the parent of a 7 year old boy who is anaphylactic to peanuts. Yes, I do spend
an inordinate amount of time in the grocery store reading each and every label of
each and every food that I plan to purchase for our home. I have to make sure that
it does not contain peanuts, that it is not "may contain trace peanuts", that it is not
"made in a facility that manufactures peanuts" or that it is not imported from the U.S.
from an American company that does not label their products as not safe for
consumption by peanut allergic individuals.
However, that is only one part of having a food allergic child or individual in our
family.
I will continue with the shopping.
Each time our family wants to try a new food item, I either have to contact the
manufacturer by e-mail or by telephone (the telephone and manufacturers, an
extremely frustrating experience) to ensure that the product is safe for our family to
consume. This isn't just down to label reading in the grocery store. Calls or e-mails
have to be sent to verify the safety of the food. Recently, I was using some black
pepper and read "may contain trace peanuts, etc...." I was horrified. I contacted the
manfacturer and was informed that I didn't have anything to worry about, there were
no peanuts in the plant, but they put the labeling on because they are not sure of the
source of the black pepper if it could have come in to contact with peanut products
along the way. Can you imagine - black pepper? I e-mailed them and received a
wonderful response from them. They actually want to work with me, and other
peanut allergic parents/individuals to help improve their service/labeling to us.
Because store name brands (no name brands) of foods are not labeled properly for
the safety of peanut allergic individuals, because the store farms their manufacture out
to different companies at different times, this means that we can NEVER safely buy a
no name product. The price difference alone, between say a no name or store brand
cereal and the name brand Kellogg's or General Mills if phenomenal. I have done
the calculation well and I would estimate that simply because we cannot purchase
store brand goods for our home (no other member of our home is able to eat peanut
products either due to the severity of my son's allergy), it would cost anywhere
between $25.00 to $100.00 per week, depending on the shop week, to ensure that
we are purchasing safe foods for our son. We are not assisted with this increased
cost of food in any way, shape or form.
Food allergies are what many consider *hidden* disabilities because they are not
visible to the eye. However, if you look at my son, you will see a MedicAlert
bracelet and an Epi-belt around his waist.
Is he able to live a regular life? Yes, certainly, TO A DEGREE, just as others with
obvious disabilities are able to lead regular lives TO A DEGREE.
Do you know the amount of time that I have to spend, as his parent, to ensure that
my son can even attend school in the province of Ontario safely despite what may be
seen as a blanket school board policy re anaphylaxis in the schools? Aside from
merely trying to make sure that my son gets the education he has the right to get
safely, I also have to be available for any school field trip that he should attend as his
parent designated supervisor, should he have a reaction while on the field trip.
Are there Mothers of food allergic children who work outside of the home?
Certainly there are.
Both the Canadian Federal Government and Ontario Provincial Government have
NOTHING in place to ease the burden on low-income families that are dealing with
food allergies. NOTHING.
Imagine being an impoverished parent of a food allergic child who has to visit a food
bank. What is one of the first foods that a food bank always asks people to donate?
Peanut butter, of course. If I visit a food bank, how much safe (read edible) food
am I able to leave the facility with compared to that of someone who does not have
a peanut or other food allergy?
The Ontario government's Ontario Works' program no longer makes provisions for
special diets (after Mr. Harris decided that pregnant women were spending their
$37.00 special diet allowance on beer and cigarettes). If you are a person, living in
Ontario, on the Ontario Works' program, there is nothing in place to help you out
financially should you have a food allergic child.
Depending on the jurisdiction, your child's MedicAlert bracelet may be covered, but
then again, it may not be. The educational materials that we need to educate the
schools so our children can attend in relative safety are certainly not covered by
anyone. My son carries his Epi-pen in an Epi-belt (also purchased through
MedicAlert) and that $50.00 little item is not covered under any federal or
provincial program.
Last year, as a test case, I applied for Assistance for Children with Severe
Disabilities under the Ministry of Community and Social Services in the Province of
Ontario. I added up the additional costs per year of having a child that has a peanut
allergy and I low-balled the figures. It was at least $1,500.00 a year more (again,
depending on the grocery bill amount) than if I did not have a peanut allergic child.
Do I still ensure that my child eats safe food despite never having applied for or
received the disability tax credit? Of course I do. Do I source out other ways to
use educational videos, etc.? Of course I do.
My point however is this. When is the Canadian government going to recognize that
food allergies are a disability and begin treating people with food allergies with a bit
of compassion, even, if that means, in the case of the government, by giving us a tax
break?
The other thing I find troublesome about the disability tax credit regardless is that it
is a non-refundable tax credit. Therefore, should you be on social services in any of
the provinces or even a disability pension, you would not qualify for the tax credit.
The tax credit would definitely benefit low income working families and other
working families as well.
It had been recommended by my son's school last year that he participate in a
particular day camp where we live. When we approached the day camp to enrol
him (it was right behind our house, a perfect location), my son was denied admission
to the day camp solely because of his peanut allergy. In twenty-two years of running
the day program, the administrators and staff had dealt with children with visible
disabilities but had never ONCE dealt with a peanut allergic child. He was unable to
go. To me, that is a restriction in his young life.
I would ask that you consider what I'm saying. Perhaps it is frightening for the
Federal Government with food allergies on the increase to be giving people a tax
credit for food allergies. Imagine how staggering the numbers *might* be in the
future.
However, very few food allergic people even knew that this credit was available to
them. Unlike in the U.S., where food allergies are recognized by the Americans with
Disabilities Act (although I am not clear if there is a tax credit involved, but at least
basic government recognition of food allergies as a disability) parents of food allergic
children (or food allergic individuals themselves) find out this information very slowly
(and not for lack of trying).
I also found it interesting that out of all of the different associations, etc. that you
consulted for the tax credit, you did not consult with Anaphylaxis Canada or even
Asthma Allergy Information Association. What association did you have
representing food allergic people in your discussions? None, as far as I could see
from the list. Every other visible disability was well represented in your consultations.
A *hidden* one wasn't.
I'd like to think that our Liberal government of to-day has the compassion to allow
this much needed and much appreciated tax credit.
Thank-you for your time and consideration.
Best wishes,
Cindy Spowart Cook
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sat, 01/04/2003 - 12:26am
anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

DebO & Cindy - thanks for motivating me to get moving on this. The government actually loves CI's - critical incidents - it's what worked for me in a sucessful rollback on our residential taxes. This allowed for 4 year rollback refund, which is always fun to receive! LOL, so I'll be using plenty of CI's to justify our claim.
Until the government mandates all manufacturers to be 100% accurate in labelling (including cross contamination possibilities) to allow everyone with a food allergy the Ability to trust labels, food allergies are a Disability for certain individuals in my humble opinion.
Here is the Merriam-Websters On Line Dictionary definition of Disability
Pronunciation: "di-s&-'bi-l&-tE
Function: noun
Date: 1580
1 a : the condition of being disabled
1 b : inability to pursue an occupation because of physical or mental impairment
2 : lack of legal qualification to do something
3 : a disqualification, restriction, or disadvantage
I didn't have a current dictionary on hand, but I will get the full definition from the reference department of our library, as the government may not accept an On-Line definition as being accurate.
When I do get a formal definition, I'll tie all of Syd's CI's to the definition to present our case.
Additional CI's will include Syd's previous reactions to cross contaminated foods, her reaction history in full, and the fact that the separate school in our district has basically yanked the welcome mat for her to attend because they essentially said "lifes not peanut free, so why should we be" (I wasn't asking for a peanut free school - I just wanted her to be able to carry her med's with her and the principal gave me a firm "absolutely not" (Locking it in the principals office was not a safe/reasonable accomodation in my mind).
I currently sit as a member of the Rights Review Board for the Association for Community Living in my area - we review fundamental rights that have been denied to individuals with developmental disabilities.
Individual with developmental disabilities are protected withing the association to be given the right to access in the community (including schooling), safe housing, safe foods, etc. I am part of a panel that hears Rights Restrictions, Rights Violations and we make decisions on reversals of rights denied. (like a little panel of judges for the association)
I'll be using as much as I can gather on that, because the similarities are endless.
Most communities in Canada have Associations for Community Living, and it might be advantagous to approach your local association and obtain their Rights Review brochures to determine rights that are similar for individuals with developmental disabilities that you can use in your documentation to the government.
Of the basic needs in life, shelter and food are fundamental, and in this case my child is denied due to a disability.
I'll be including copies of emails and phone scripts with manufacturers I've been in touch with; the fact that my daughter cannot even go into certain department stores without having a mild facial reaction to something there (Walmart specifically).
Being isolated from the community is a fundamental right denied for people with disabilities (that's why ramps are built and crossing lights have audible signals and fire alarms are equipped with visual signals - to permit safe and reasonable accomodation for a person with physical, sight or audible disabilities to be part of the community). These are just a few of my CI's that will be included.
I have not been able to return to work because homecare/daycare centres cannot guarantee the safety of my child in their care. Our standard of living has dropped substantially because I am at home with my child. Don't get me wrong - I love being with her, and may have considered staying at home anyways until she starts schooling full time, but I didn't have a choice when there were no safe facilities available to us.
We also moved our residence to be within a reasonable distance to a hospital, so essentially we gave up our home because of this disability, into a smaller home that we can barely afford - due to real estate pricing difference. We could not remain in our original home as it was in a small village in the middle of nowhere with no means of ambulatory support and the closest hospital was 40 miles away. This may seem like I'm stretching the CI - but it was the sole reasons for moving - to be closer to a hospital. It has cost us substantially in our standard of living - we're so broke, we can barely pay attention! LOL.
We can no longer vacation as others do, we gave up cottaging because of it's distance to the hospital and the fact that the chipmunks would us as their storage place for peanuts from surrounding cottagers.
Because of the restrictions that airlines place on our travel (I'm going to be including CI's from others who posted in the Airline thread with their permission to get the point across on individuals being yanked from planes or forced not to board because of this disability - would anyone treat a blind person in this manner?) We are not able to visit relatives in Arizona or Colorado or abroad, as the driving distance is prohibitive and even if we do, we would be forced to bring rations of safe food as restaurant eating could be unsafe.
These specific CI's may seem to only to effect those with the money to travel/vaction, but the fact that we cannot do these things in my mind presents a clear CI of a disability, regardless of income.
Everything from the problem of attending a theatre to watch a movie, to going to a community centre to watch a children's performance or the olympics on the big screen becomes a disadvantage when peanuts are permitted within.
It's not just removing ourselves and children from peanuts, it involves serious isolation from what is commonly taken for granted in the life of the rest of the community. It's not just about food.
[This message has been edited by Syd's Mom (edited January 04, 2003).]

Posted on: Sat, 01/04/2003 - 6:14am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Syd's Mom, can you tell me what a critical incident is?
cynde had just posted in the other thread in Main Discussion that she was going to claim the previous four years regardless. I believe we should at least do that. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sat, 01/04/2003 - 7:18am
cynde's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/10/2002 - 09:00

Thanks Cindy, I didn't get a chance to get to Take Action right away. I think I did read about the tax credit that you could apply for up to 4 previous years that were not claimed. As I said on the tax credit thread, we should all try, whether the government decides to exclude food allergies for this year or not.
------------------
Cynde

Posted on: Sat, 01/04/2003 - 7:26am
DebO's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/15/1999 - 09:00

Hi
I am still working on my response. My concern is not really about being excluded from the tax credit. The issue for me is that in order to exclude us from a disability tax credit they will have to either come up with a way to "rank" the severity of disabilities (an administrative nightmare and not too likely to be accepted) or change the definition of a disability in order to exclude us. If the definition of a disability is changed, this can impact us greatly. We lose the protection we have from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms against discrimination due to a disability. We can no longer insist on accomodation of our children at schools, daycares, transportation facilities....
If the definition of a disability is changed by the Ministry of Finance, this may set a precedent for other government agencies and I fear we will lose the small amount of ground that we have gained in the past few years.
Remember that filing for the tax credit is different from making a statement to The Ministry of Finance and that those comments are due January 17!
Take care
deb

Posted on: Sat, 01/04/2003 - 8:10am
DebO's picture
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Joined: 03/15/1999 - 09:00

Here is the link to the judgement of the Court of Appeal regarding the gluten intolerance:
[url="http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fct/2002/2002fca118.html"]http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fct/2002/2002fca118.html[/url]
and here is the link to the report of the committee which is reviewing the disability tax credit:
[url="http://www.parl.gc.ca/InfoComDoc/37/1/HUMA/Studies/Reports/humarp07-e.htm"]http://www.parl.gc.ca/InfoComDoc/37/1/HUMA/Studies/Reports/humarp07-e.htm[/url]
take care
deb

Posted on: Sat, 01/04/2003 - 9:57am
anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

DebO - Thanks for posting those links.
Cindy - CI's (critical incidents) are the supporting evidence or examples for a particular claim.
Example - If I were to claim Syd's allergic to Peanuts (the claim)
My Critical Incidents would include:
C.I.#1 - Positive Initial Skin Test (including initial allergists signed statement)
C.I.#2 - Second Positive Skin Test (Ped.Allergist's statement)
C.I.#2 - hospitization records due to peanut exposures (including names of emerg. physicians, and ambulatory personnel)
C.I.#4 - symptoms occuring when Syd comes in contact via inhalation or touching (based on documented clinical records and personal health records kept by myself.)
C.I.#5 - symptoms of anaphylactic symptoms when Syd has had oral/ingested contact with peanuts. (based on ambulatory records & admitting room physician records sent to pediatrician)
C.I.#6 - prescription of epinepherine (including pharmasists scripts)
All of these C.I's would be supporting evidence for the initial claim of Syd's peanut allergy.
Another non related example of a claim with supporting C.I.'s would be:
I.E. Person A with Developmental Disabilities not being given exposure to the community. (the claim)
C.I. - Person A currently lives in group setting with understaffing situation not permitting minimum of 5 hours exposure to community activities.
C.I. - Person A acted out inappropriately in public during last community activity, therefore being punished with withholding of this right.
I'm kind of stumped at giving a proper definition but the initial claim needs to be supported with examples.
These examples are the critical incidents to provide credence to the initial claim.
So for us, we need to show the claim that peanut allergy is a disability. The CI's would include
a) schooling issues encountered due to allergy. (busing, lunchroom, curriculum activities involving food, school policy on peanut free class/school, etc.)
b) recreational restrictions due to allergy (camping, cottaging, visiting locations with no medical means of support available - i.e. visit to Center Island with minimal ferries in off season)
c) transportation restrictions (flying, cruising, extended car travel requiring external meals at restaurants/questionable accomodations in hotels/motels)
d) social restrictions(everything from sleepovers in other peoples homes, to girl guides, to entertainment such as cinema's,
e) religious restrictions(accepting host from cross-contaminated hands, challace from cross-contaminated wine)
f) housing restrictions (hotel rooms, other residential accomodation requirements in places other than safe peanut free homes)
g) asset acquisitions (shopping, groceries, etc)
a) to g) are some C.I's that would need specific examples attached to them. These C.I's all support the claim that peanut allergy/food allergies indeed limit the ability of allergic individuals. I didn't do such a great job coming up with C.I's and examples but given time, I'll flush out everyone possible.
Hope I've made sense. My mind is running amuck so I'm not being as creative as I should, but wanted to provide at least some examples. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[This message has been edited by Syd's Mom (edited January 04, 2003).]

Posted on: Sat, 01/04/2003 - 11:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Deb O., wow, I can completely understand why this is such an important TAKE ACTION issue.
Do you know how long food allergic people have actually been able to claim the disability tax credit?
Syd's Mom, when I do the C.I.'s, which I think I understand, but I don't think would ever be as comprehensive as yours, is this something that I would do when I'm submitting my letter to the Ministry now or when I'm submitting my income tax return?
Also, I am going to claim the back four years regardless as cynde suggested. How do I do this? Do I need the T2201 form for four years previous to this one as well and file it all with my 2002 income tax return or do I have to contact Revenue Canada separately about changing my income tax return from the last four years?
Actually, if I contact Revenue Canada with these questions, would they answer me nicely? I know that I did get a really nice response re sending me out the T2201 form. I don't know.
And all of this just fine coming from a person that does income tax returns every year for people [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] I actually do have a specialty which I will not divulge here.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sat, 01/04/2003 - 1:58pm
anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Quote:Originally posted by Cindy Spowart Cook:
[b]Syd's Mom, when I do the C.I.'s, which I think I understand, but I don't think would ever be as comprehensive as yours, is this something that I would do when I'm submitting my letter to the Ministry now or when I'm submitting my income tax return?
[/b]
Cindy - as I understand, it's the Ministry that wants submission papers, so in our submission sighting why Peanut Allergy/Food Allergies are a disability, this is where we present our documented CI and examples.
We want to make sure the Ministry doesn't change their rules about what is and what is not a declarable disability, so we definitely include all our stuff in our writtens submission papers.
You raise an interesting question about whether to also include our written submission papers when we submit our income tax returns. I hadn't thought about that.
The tax return claim forms has minimal reference to our prediciment. I've got our forms ready for our doctor to sign on Monday under the area as I remember being feeding related only. The only area I think (correct me if I'm wrong here) at present time that we qualify under is the feeding disability, so I'm not even sure if the accounting department handling claims would even read our submission papers if we included them with our tax returns.
But that being said, if this whole position remains in limbo with the Ministry, our supporting evidence in our Ministry submission papers could only help convince the accountants to process our claims.
Bottom line - I'm sending mine to both - would kick myself if I only sent to the Ministry and then got denied by the claims handlers at Tax Office because I hadn't included clear and presenting evidence to back up my claim paperwork!
Cheers,

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