Section 4 – Health, Seniors and Caregivers
Medical Expense Credit
An individual is entitled to a non-refundable tax credit for medical expenses paid for himself/herself, his/her spouse or a dependent during a 12-month period ended in the year1 and which was not used in the prior year.
Example: In 2020, an individual whose receipts cover the period from August 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020 can use medical expenses for the period from August 1, 2019 to July 31, 2020 or any other 12-month period ending in 2020.
The expenses must not have been reimbursed nor be reimbursable. Details about this tax credit for 2020, including the minimum eligible expense threshold, can be found in Table I2 of the Schedule – Individuals Taxation for your province.
1 The reference period is 24 months in the year of death of the taxpayer or a dependent.
The list of eligible medical expenses is updated periodically to take new technologies or other changes into account. The list includes:2
- Payments to medical practitioners, dentists or nurses, or to public or licensed private hospitals in respect of medical or dental services;
- Additional costs related to the purchase of non-gluten food products;
- Expenses paid for training courses for a taxpayer or a related person in respect of the care of a person with a mental or physical impairment, who lives with or is a dependent of the taxpayer;
- Cost of purchased or leased products, equipment or devices that provide relief, assistance or treatment for any illness;
- Certain travel and moving expenses to provide a person with access to care or accommodation that is more suitable to his/her needs;
- Premiums paid to private health insurance plans as well as the premium paid to the QPPDIP and the New Brunswick Drug Plan (including deductible and co-insurance portions);
- Employer premiums or payments to a private health insurance plan that are included in the employee’s income as a taxable benefit for the year (Quebec);
- Remuneration for tutoring persons with learning disabilities, or other mental impairments, if the need for such services is certified by a medical practitioner;
- Reasonable supplemental expenses for the construction or renovation of a residence to enable a person with a serious, prolonged handicap to have access to this residence, to move around and to carry out activities of daily living;
- Eligible expenses for an animal specially trained to assist a person with certain impairments;
- Expenses incurred for a personalized treatment plan;
- Expenses incurred for cannabis products purchased for medical purposes.
Remember to include premiums paid to a private health services plan by you or your spouse and your employer (for Quebec purposes only in the latter case) as medical expenses (see Section V).
The Ontario health premium (see Section XII) is not an eligible expense for the medical expense credit.
Expenses paid strictly for aesthetic purposes (such as teeth whitening, face-lift or liposuction) are normally not eligible. For Quebec purposes, the amount for the purchase of frames for eyeglasses is limited to $200 per person.
2 Certain conditions have to be met. Details are provided in government publications, including the list of eligible medical expenses published by the CRA at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/lines-33099-33199-eligible-medical-expenses-you-claim-on-your-tax-return.html.
Certain costs related to the use of reproductive technologies, such as prescription drugs, including the cost of prescribed fertility medication are eligible expenses for the medical expense tax credit. In-vitro fertilization procedures and associated expenses, where the procedures are medically indicated because an individual has an existing illness or condition are also recognized as eligible expenses under the credit.
Since 2017, 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. Taxpayers can elect for this measure to apply for any of the immediately preceding ten taxation years
In Quebec, costs related to a fertility treatment may give entitlement to a refundable tax credit (see Section II).
Adjustment for Medical Expenses Claimed for Dependents
For federal purposes, taxpayers can claim the amount by which the medical expenses paid for a dependent (grandfather, grandmother, nephew, niece, etc.) exceeds the lesser of 3% of the dependent’s net income and $2,397.3
In Quebec, there is no maximum for medical expenses incurred for a dependent and taxpayers are not required to take account of the net income of a dependent, for the purposes of the minimum expense threshold, in respect of whom a medical expense credit is being claimed.
3 $2,440 in Ontario (up to a maximum amount of $13,156 in expenses) and $2,367 in New Brunswick. No expense limit is applicable in jurisdictions other than Ontario. Amounts for 2020, indexed annually.
Refundable Medical Expense Credit
An adult may claim a refundable credit for medical expenses if he/she is also claiming the non-refundable credit for medical expenses or the disability supports deduction and if his/her earned income is at least $3,714 ($3,135 in Quebec). The maximum credit is $1,272 ($1,226 in Quebec) and is reduced when net family income exceeds $28,164 ($23,700 in Quebec).4
4 Amounts for 2020, indexed annually.
Credit for Medical Services Not Incurred in Taxpayer’s Area – Quebec
Quebec offers a non-refundable medical credit for travel and accommodation costs paid to obtain medical care not available in the area where the taxpayer or the dependent lives. The care must be obtained in a location at least 200 kilometres from the patient’s residence. Moving expenses incurred to move to a location in Quebec that is within 80 kilometres of the health care establishment also qualify for this special medical credit if the treatment will last at least six months and equivalent medical care is not available at least 200 kilometres from the former residence. While these expenses could also be claimed as medical expenses, there is no 3% minimum expense threshold as there is for the medical expense credit.
This document is up to date as of September 3, 2020 and reflects the status of legislation, including proposed amendments at this date.