Section 4 – Health, Seniors and Caregivers
Terms and certification
Special provisions apply for disabled persons. A person is generally considered disabled if he/she has a serious and prolonged mental or physical impairment that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months6.
A disability is serious if a taxpayer’s ability to perform his/her everyday activities is significantly limited. For this purpose, recognized everyday are the ability to walk, feed oneself, talk, hear, eliminate or see. They also include the mental functions necessary for everyday life. The list of such activities has been expanded since 2021 to include attention, concentration, memory, judgement, perception of reality, problem-solving, goal-setting, regulation of behaviour and emotions, verbal and non-verbal comprehension and adaptive functioning.
6 There is a series of questions on the CRA’s Internet site for determining eligibility for the mental or physical disability credit amount at: Are you eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC)? - Canada.ca.
The first time a taxpayer claims a disability deduction or credit, he/she must obtain a certificate from a doctor or a nurse practitioner or from an optometrist, an audiologist, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, a speech therapist or a psychologist for disabilities related to their areas of competence.
Disability Tax Credit
Persons suffering from a disability may benefit from a non-refundable tax credit. At the federal level7, a supplement is added for children under 18 years of age. The supplement is reduced by the amount by which child care and attendant expenses claimed as a deduction or a medical expense credit for the child exceed the prescribed maximum.
Details about the amounts applicable are included in your province’s Individuals Taxation tables.
7 Including Ontario and New Brunswick. Quebec does not allow a supplement.
Transfer of Credit – Federal
The disability tax credit and the supplement may be transferred to the spouse or another person who has claim either the tax credit for an eligible dependent or Canada caregiver credit for the handicapped individual. In the latter case, the handicapped person must be the taxpayer’s child, grandchild, mother, father, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew or one of his/her spouse’s.
Tax Credit for Disabled Dependents – New Brunswick
An individual who supports a child or a member of his/her or his/her spouse’s family8 who is 18 years of age and older and who suffers from a serious or prolonged mental or physical disability is entitled to a non-refundable tax credit for dependent disabled persons (the Individuals Taxation table for the province for the applicable amount). The taxpayer may also claim the credit for an eligible dependent9 but not the amount for caregivers in respect of the same individual.
8 Parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew. 9 It is not possible to claim the credit for a disabled dependent if someone else claims an eligible dependent amount in respect of the same individual.
Disability Supports Deduction
The disability supports deduction includes attendant care expenses as well as other disability supports expenses incurred by disabled persons for education and employment purposes, or for carrying on a business unless such expenses were reimbursed (except if the refund is taxable) or were claimed for purposes of the medical expense credit. For 2020 and 2021, taxpayers who benefited from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, another COVID-19 related or employment insurance benefits or QPIP benefits also qualify.
Child Care Expenses
See Section II.
When a taxpayer is entitled to claim the disability tax credit, he/she may not have to include in his/her income certain benefits received from his/her employer (see Section V).
This document is up to date as of August 1, 2021 and reflects the status of legislation, including proposed amendments at this date.