All About Estates

Qualifying Costs of Medical Assistance in Dying may be Eligible for the Medical Expense Tax Credit

I previously blogged about the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Carter v. Canada[1], which ruled that Canadians are entitled to obtain medical assistance to end their lives under appropriate circumstances (See Blog on Medical Assistance in Dying – Where Are We Now?). A question that stems from that ruling is whether the costs for engaging in medical assistance in dying are eligible medical expenses for the purposes of the medical expense tax credit (“METC”).  At the Canadian Tax Foundation Annual Conference last year, this question was put to the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”), and in response, the CRA issued a Technical Interpretation on the subject.

The METC is a non-refundable tax credit that can be claimed on an individual’s income tax and benefit return if that individual, or his/her spouse or common-law partner, paid for healthcare expenses that are considered eligible medical expenses.

Eligible medical expenses include amounts paid for medical services provided by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner, as well as medications, preparations or substances that meet specific requirements in the Income Tax Act[2].

In addition, an individual can only claim the part of an eligible medical expense for which he/she has not been or will not be reimbursed.

In its Technical Interpretation[3], the CRA expressed its view that the provision of medical assistance in dying, as outlined in the Criminal Code[4], in conjunction with the requirements of the respective provincial and territorial health-related laws, rules and policies, as applicable, would be considered a medical service for the purpose of the METC.  Therefore, expenses paid for these services provided by a medical doctor, nurse practitioner, or a public or licensed private hospital for medical assistance in dying would be eligible medical expenses for the purpose of the METC.

Similarly, the cost of medicaments or other preparations or substances used for medical assistance in dying, as outlined in the Criminal Code and the applicable provincial and territorial requirements, will be eligible for the METC provided the requirements of the ITA are met. Specifically, the cost of medicaments or other preparations or substances is an eligible medical expense if it is prescribed by a medical practitioner and its purchase is recorded by a pharmacist[5], or if it is prescribed by a medical practitioner and it may be lawfully acquired only with the intervention of a medical practitioner[6].

This is welcome news to those who are, or whose family members are, contemplating medical assistance in dying.

[1] Carter v. Canada, 2015 SCC 5.

[2] Income Tax Act R.S.C., 1985, c. 1 (5th Supp.) (“ITA”).

[3]2017-0703891C6 2017 CTF – Q16 – Medical assistance in dying.

[4] Criminal Code R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46.

[5] Section 118.2(2)(n)(i) of the ITA.

[6] Section 118.2(2)(n)(ii) of the ITA and Section 5701 of the Income Tax Regulations (C.R.C., c. 945).


About Brittany Sud
Brittany Sud is a member of the Trust, Wills, Estates and Charities Group at Fasken, Toronto office. Brittany is developing a broad estates and trusts practice with a focus on planning and administration matters. As part of her practice, Brittany assists high net worth clients, entrepreneurs and professionals with Wills, powers of attorney, domestic contracts and trusts. She has experience developing and implementing cohesive estate plans that reflect the financial objectives and short and long-term goals of clients, including advising on probate planning, family business succession planning, asset protection strategies and disability planning. Brittany’s estate administration practice includes preparing applications for probate and administering the Canadian estates of non-residents. Outside of the office, Brittany enjoys playing softball and tennis, travelling and cooking. She is a dedicated volunteer of the United Jewish Appeal, Jewish National Fund, One Family Fund and Baycrest Foundation. Community Involvement • Host, Baycrest Foundation - Game Night for Baycrest, 2015 • Chair, Pitch for Israel Softball Tournament, 2014-2016 • Vice-Chair, United Jewish Appeal Young Lawyers Leadership Campaign Canvassing Team, 2016 Memberships and Affiliations • Member, Canadian Bar Association • Member, Ontario Bar Association - Trusts and Estates Law Section • Member, Ontario Bar Association - Young Lawyers’ Division • Student Member, Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP) Canada


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