Health Canada says its website has become the “primary source” for patients looking to claim a defraying health benefit under the defray legislation.
It’s a big deal for Canadians, because the law’s defray benefits, like any government-provided health care, are taxed at a flat rate of 10 per cent of income.
Health Canada says it has “encouraged Canadians to check their tax returns for a more accurate understanding of their health care expenses.”
But in an email to CBC News, the department’s spokesperson says that “health care expenses are not deductible” under the government’s health care legislation.
“In fact, health care costs cannot be deducted in a health benefit plan,” the spokesperson said.
“However, a health plan may allow a deduction for certain costs such as premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.”
The website is a valuable resource for Canadians looking to make a claim under the health care system, especially if they’re facing a medical crisis, or have a family member who is ill.
But the government has also said that it is not required to provide information on how to claim the defrays benefits.
Health Canada is the only government entity in Canada that is required to make public information about the deferrals and deductibles of its health care.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is the country’s largest group representing taxpayers and health care consumers, which has opposed Health Canada’s decision to block Canadians from accessing the website.
“We’ve seen the Harper government trying to roll back the good things that have come out of the Health Accord.
That’s not going to work.
It’s going to backfire,” said Marc Gagnon, a lawyer with the Canadian Taxpayer Federation.
“They’re not going make any concessions to Canadians who are struggling to access health care because it’s such a crucial part of their lives.”
Health Canada has said it is “looking into the matter” with Health Canada, and says it will provide updates in the coming days.
With files from The Canadian Press