TORONTO, June 15, 2020 – The CCA applauds the federal government’s recent announcement to provide a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). This is an important step to address the needs of Canadians who are at higher risk of losing their job or face additional expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At least 4.7 million Canadians rely on services offered by chiropractors every year. A significant portion are people living with disabilities who require ongoing treatment and management of their musculoskeletal conditions like back, neck, and knee pain, as well as osteoarthritis. Yet, they continue to face an unfair obstacle in accessing the Disability Tax Credit designed to help them.
Despite chiropractors being primary contact health care providers who assess disability under similar provincial programs, the federal government still has not authorized chiropractors to assess for the DTC. This needs to change.
“This is an issue about accessibility and reducing barriers for patients,” said Alison Dantas, CEO of the Canadian Chiropractic Association. “Canadians with disabilities who rely on chiropractors should not be forced to schedule an unnecessary visit to another practitioner who may not know the patient’s history. This adds unnecessary, and sometimes costly, steps to the care pathway.”
There is no cost to government to implement this change, as eligibility criteria for the DTC would remain the same. The CCA’s request has widespread support from other primary care providers. The Canadian Nurses Association, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, the Arthritis Society and the broad patient advocate community all support this change as does the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance who acknowledged this oversight in December 2018 and recommended that the government amend the Income Tax Act to allow chiropractors to assess their patients for the DTC benefit.
“Our concern now is that patients living with disabilities have not been able to access the care they need because of COVID-19,” Dantas said. “Reducing impediments for patients relying on chiropractors to manage their pain and disability is a priority for thousands of Canadians. Allowing chiropractors to assess for the DTC will improve the health of Canadians with disabilities while supporting the government’s efforts to ensure the right supports are in place for all Canadians.”
Chiropractic patients with disabilities deserve better. There is an opportunity for the government to continue supporting those most in need by improving access to primary health care. This simple change is a cost-effective solution that will streamline access for eligible patients, including many seniors, to receive the care they need when they need it.
- According to the World Health Organizations (WHO) musculoskeletal conditions are the leading contributor to disability worldwide, with low back pain being the single leading cause of disability globally.
- Each year, more than 11 million Canadians suffer from musculoskeletal conditions and by 2031 this number is projected to grow to an alarming 15 million.
- Back pain affects an estimated one billion people worldwide, in all age groups, from children to the elderly. It is the biggest single cause of disability on the planet, with one in four adults estimated to suffer from back pain during their lives.
- Chiropractors are musculoskeletal experts who complete a rigorous academic and practical education allowing them to recognize when a chronic musculoskeletal condition has reached the point of disability. The Doctor of Chiropractic Degree Program consists of Anatomy, Biochemistry, Orthopedics, Radiography, Biometrics, Pathology, Microbiology, Immunology, Systems Physiology, Neuroscience, Nutrition and Biomechanics as well as a full range of diagnostic and chiropractic clinical skills.
- By adding chiropractors to the list of healthcare providers eligible to assess disability for the DTC, the government could remove a burden on chiropractic patients and lessen the pressure on Canada’s already strained health care system.
About the Canadian Chiropractic Association
The Canadian Chiropractic Association represents Doctors of Chiropractic across Canada who treat and manage musculoskeletal conditions that impact the health of millions of Canadians. Every year, at least 4.7 million Canadians rely on chiropractors to help them manage the serious burden of musculoskeletal pain and disease. As one of Canada’s largest primary contact health care professions, chiropractors provide evidence-based, non-invasive, drug-free manual therapies.
For more information please visit www.chiropractic.ca