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Business Advisory, Personal and Corporate Taxes, Business Start-Up, Bookkeeping

Medical Expenses and Income Taxes: Changes and Unusual Items


Canadians can claim medical expenses on their income taxes as a deduction, but it can be an underutilized deduction. 

You need to keep your receipts and total them up, and you don’t get to deduct the full amount of your medical expenses (there are thresholds and percentages involved), but you’re paying the expenses anyway—why not take advantage of any deductions you can get with them?

Fertility Treatment Deductions

The Canadian federal budget in 2017 included a clarification to rules on claiming medical expenses for the purposes of conceiving a child. In the past, only people who had been diagnosed as infertile were able to claim fertility treatment expenses as an income tax deduction. The changes included in the 2017 budget now allow anyone using fertility treatments to conceive a child to claim them as a Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC) on their income taxes. 

This clarification also included the rather unusual condition that the METC can also be claimed retroactively for up to 10 years—people wanting to claim a METC that they were previously ineligible for can re-file their taxes for that year with the updated METC amounts.

Other Medical Expenses

Another interesting thing about claiming medical expenses on your income taxes is just how many medical services and devices are eligible to be claimed. Some of the more unusual items that are allowed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) are:

  • an air conditioner or air purifier;
  • computer peripherals;
  • electrolysis;
  • a furnace;
  • laser eye surgery;
  • medical marijuana;
  • medical services provided outside of Canada;
  • moving expenses;
  • premiums paid to private medical plans;
  • renovation or construction expenses;
  • tutoring services;
  • wigs.

These are just a small sampling of some of the medical expenses that might be considered a claimable medical expense by CRA. Many of these items require a prescription from a doctor to be eligible to be claimed, but if a doctor has decided that you need a specific item or service because of a medical condition, it’s worth looking into. 

Your next stop after seeing your doctor might be seeing Shaw & Associates Chartered Accountants—find out if you can claim the expenses or not, and what you need to do to claim them!

Contact Shaw & Associates Chartered Accountants to help you understand the tax laws and how they impact you. One complimentary meeting with us will put you and your business on a more profitable and positive path.