I am a retired woman living in a small town. Like many seniors, I work part time to supplement my pension income. In 2016, I was diagnosed with cancer and was unable to work.
I spent the summer at a cancer centre. I stayed in motels Monday to Friday while receiving chemo and radiation treatments, then drove home on the weekends. The cost of motels, food and gas were expensive. Many of the people who I met at the cancer centre were unable to go home on weekends. Their costs were obviously much higher. Cancer centres are only available in major cities in Canada. Everyone living in small communities must travel long distances for treatment. This is true of every province and territory in Canada. And true not just for cancer centres, but also for every major medical centre and recuperative centre in Canada. Medical travel expenses are deductible against taxes payable. However, you have only one calendar year to claim the expenses on your taxes. If your income goes down because you were sick and not able to work, your taxable income drops. So you likely cannot recover all of your expenses. That is one huge catch 22. By the time you are able to work again, you are no longer able to claim. Time has run out.
Expenses cannot be brought forward and claimed in the following years. And, to add insult to injury, medical travel costs are capped just like any other medical expenses. So, we will never be able to recover in full. To change this catch 22 in the tax act, I wrote a petition on Change.org challenging Bill Morneau to change the tax act, but it has not gotten many signatures. I have also prepared a petition on the House of Commons website, but again, not enough interest.
If I were a person with a really sick puppy or horse, I would have donations, and signatures up the wazoo. But I am just an old lady – with two healthy rescue cats.
If you want to sign the petition, the link to the website is https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Home/Index. Search for petition number e-1311 and sign.
Anne Tansey Rouleau