The Government Benefits and Community Services page contains links to tax credits, disability benefits, and community services, which may be of interest to those affected by GBS, CIDP, and MMN. The responsibility strictly lies with the reader to investigate application criteria and to apply or inquire about any of the tax credits, benefits, or services listed.
I want information on:
- Disability tax credit
- Medical expenses
- Disability supports deduction
- Child disability benefit
- Registered disability savings plan
- What can persons with disabilities claim as a deduction or credit?
- GST/HST Information – Goods and services that are exempt
supplies or zero-rated for the GST/HST
- Excise gasoline tax refund
- Free tax clinics
- Authorize or cancel a representative
- Services for persons with disabilities
The Canada caregiver credit
For information on your provincial or territorial tax and credits, see the province or territory that applies to you:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Persons with disabilities are exempt from paying GST or HST on the following goods and services:
- specially equipped motor vehicles
- hospital parking
- care and supervision services
- training plan design services
- home delivered meals
- medical devices and supplies
- recreational programs
- home care services
If you paid GST/HST in error, ask the supplier for a refund or credit. If you cannot get a refund from the supplier, apply to the CRA for a rebate.
Medical Expense and Attendant Care Expense Deduction
Applies to individuals who have sustained significant medical expenses for themselves or certain dependants.
- Claim allowable medical expenses paid in any 12- month period
- Claim all amounts paid, even if they were not paid in Canada
- Cannot claim any expense for which they have been or can be reimbursed
- For information about how to claim medical expenses, see the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide and the and territorial pages of the forms book.
- If medical treatment is not available locally, a person may be able to claim the cost of travelling to get the treatment somewhere else
Service Canada offers access to a wide range of Government of Canada programs and services. The section on People with Disabilities provides links to information as well as application forms for grants, benefits, and loans in all areas including training and education, employment, housing, income and legal assistance, saving plans, personal documents, special events, and travel.
Canadian Transportation Agency, Government of Canada
The Canadian Transport Agency’s website provides information on accessible transportation and other transport services and guidelines within Canada. Information is provided on air, marine, rail, and inter-provincial bus travel. The Agency’s mandate is to ensure the Canadian Transportation System is accessible to all persons, especially those with disabilities.
Equipment Funding, Easter Seals Society
The Easter Seals Society acts as a third-party funder towards the purchase of special equipment. It has no role in prescribing, recommending equipment or selecting a vendor/contractor.
Easter Seals provides equipment funding in:
- Ontario – accessibility aids, bathroom and toileting aids (including incontenence supplies), communication and writing aids, mobility aids, and orthotics
- Alberta – power wheelchairs, scooters, hospital beds, lift assist chairs, porch lifts, stair lifts, and other specialized equipment needed to remain independent
- Saskatchewan – recycle loan and repair programs only
- Manitoba – wheelchair services and assistive technology support program
- Nova Scotia – wheelchairs, assistive devices and other mobility equipment
- British Columbia – children only
- New Brunswick – recycle loan and repair programs only
Disability Travel Card, Easter Seals Canada
The Easter Seals Disability Travel Card provides verification to a person with a permanent disability, enabling an adult attendant to receive discounted travel. The card may be used for Greyhound Bus, Via Rail, and Coach Canada.
Call your nearest Easter Seals chapter for information on the Disability Travel Card and for an application form. Applications must be verified by a registered health care provider.
Canadian Red Cross – Transportation Services
Red Cross provides transportation services to help individuals through a fee for service, volunteer driver program.
• Services and fees may vary depending on the region
• Services are not guaranteed as they are subject to volunteer availability
Alberta Works helps unemployed and low-income Albertans meet their basic needs and find jobs.
- Employment Services – Employment Services help unemployed Albertans explore their career and training options and find jobs.
- Income Support – Income Support provides financial assistance to Albertans who do not have the resources to meet their basic needs, like food, clothing and shelter.
- Health Benefits – Health benefits include: prescription drugs and essential over the counter medications; eye exams and glasses; dental care; emergency ambulance services; essential diabetic supplies
- Child Support Services – free service through Alberta Works to help parents with limited incomes get child support agreements or court orders.
Voices of Albertans with Disabilities
Voices of Albertans with Disabilities actively promotes full participation in society and provides a voice for Albertans with disabilities.
They provide the following services:
- Individual Supports: VAD has specialized expertise and knowledge on services, supports and application forms for persons with disabilities. Individualized (one-on-one) appointments are available at the VAD office
- Bursaries and Awards
- Accessibility Assessments
Drug Coverage and Supplementary Health Benefits, Alberta Health
Government-sponsored supplementary health benefit programs
Alberta Health offers a number of additional health benefit plans for Albertans. Administered by Alberta Blue Cross, these plans are:
- Non-Group Coverage – a premium-based plan available to Albertans under 65 years of age and their dependants.
- Coverage for Seniors – a premium-free plan available to Albertans 65 years of age and older and their dependants.
- Palliative Coverage – for people diagnosed as being palliative and receiving their treatments at home.
- Optical Assistance for Seniors- for low-to-moderate incomes seniors to recieve financial assistance for optical services.
For more information on the above health plans, please visit Alberta Blue Cross’ website here.
Note: Alberta Health-sponsored supplementary health benefit plans cover pre-existing health conditions.
Specialized prescription drug coverage
Alberta Health provides coverage for specialized prescription drugs, which includes services through:
- Outpatient Cancer Drug Benefit Program
- Specialized High Cost Drug Program
- Disease Control and Prevention – for the treatment of tuberculosis and sexually transmitted disease.
- Alberta Health Services – provides all medically required drugs administered in hospitals, auxiliary hospitals and nursing homes, at no direct cost to the patient.
Many disease modifying drugs for multiple sclerosis are eligible for special authorization to be covered by the ministry’s supplementary health benefit programs above. Special authorization request forms are completed by physicians and reviewed by clinical pharmacists. Prior approval must be granted to ensure coverage by special authorization.
Residential Access Modification Program (RAMP)
The Residential Access Modification Program (RAMP) provides grants to help lower-income Albertans with mobility challenges modify their homes so they can enter and move around more easily.
You can apply for a RAMP grant for up to $7,500 annually and up to a maximum of $15,000 within a 10-year benefit period.
- All wheelchair users, regardless of age, who meet program criteria (homeowner, tenants, and people living with family).
- Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have lived in Alberta for 90 continuous days and have a valid Personal Health Number
- Aboriginal people living off- and on-reserve .
- People with the following progressive neuro-degenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis
- Seniors aged 65+ who are using a wheelchair or a 4-wheel walker on an ongoing basis.
- More than one wheelchair user per household may apply for a RAMP grant. However, the applications must be for separate modifications on the same property.
Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES)
DRES funding is available to pay for supports that help Albertans overcome barriers to education or employment caused by a disability.
DRES is offered in three categories:
Job Search Supports
Job search supports assist Albertans with disabilities aged 16 and older seek employment. The supports may include a sign language interpreter so that an individual with a hearing impairment can attend a job interview.
Workplace supports assist Albertans with disabilities aged 16 and older make a successful transition into the workplace, maintain employment, and enable their full participation in the workforce. The supports may include a job coach, worksite modification or assistive technology.
Education supports assist learners with disabilities who are out of the kindergarten to grade 12 school system, prepare for employment through post-secondary education, basic skill training, academic upgrading or labour market programs. The supports may include sign language interpreters, tutors, note takers, and assistive technology such as software programs specific to the disability.
Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)
AISH provides financial and health benefits to eligible Albertans with a disability.
You may receive:
- monthly living allowance – money to pay for your living costs such as food, rent and utilities
- monthly child benefit – money to assist you with raising your dependent children
- health benefits – assistance to cover health needs for you, your spouse or partner and your dependent children
- personal benefits – money over and above your monthly living allowance for specific needs such as a special diet or assistance in an emergency
You may be eligible if:
- you have a disability that substantially limits your ability to earn a living
- your disability is likely to remain permanent
- there’s no training, rehabilitation or medical treatment that will help you to work enough to earn a living
- you’re at least 18 years old and not eligible to receive an Old Age Security pension
- you live in Alberta and are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- you aren’t in a correctional facility or some mental health facilities such as Alberta Hospital Edmonton
- you meet financial eligibility criteria
BC’s Fuel Tax Refund Program for Persons with Disabilities
HandyPASS & TaxiSaver Programs, BC Transit
ICBC Disability Discount
The Disability Discount offers a savings for persons with a disability who own/lease a car and who are qualified for the BC government Fuel Tax Refund Program for Persons with Disabilities. Your vehicle must be rated either for pleasure use, to & from work, business use or certain recreational and commercial uses. Eligible applicants receive a 25% discount on the cost of Basic Autoplan even if they are not the one driving the vehicle they are insuring.
Manitoba Pharmacare Program
Pharmacare is a drug benefit program for eligible Manitobans, regardless of disease or age, whose income is seriously affected by high prescription drug costs.
Pharmacare coverage is based on both your total family income and the amount you pay for eligible prescription drugs. The total family income is adjusted to include a spouse and the number of dependents, if applicable.
Each year you are required to pay a portion of the cost of your eligible prescription drugs. This amount is your annual Pharmacare deductible. Pharmacare sets your deductible based on your adjusted family income.
You qualify for the Manitoba Pharmacare program if you meet all of the following criteria:
- You are eligible for Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living coverage.
- Your prescriptions are not covered by other provincial or federal programs.
Employment and Income Assistance (EIA)
The Employment and Income Assistance Program (EIA) provides financial help to Manitobans who have no other way to support themselves or their families. This includes benefits from the Rent Assist Program that helps with housing costs. For people who are able to work, EIA will help them go back to work by providing supports to employment.
Get Your Benefits
Get your benefits is a publication developed by the Manitoba College of Family Physicians and the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre.
It provides a summary of information on many services available to Manitobans, such as:
- Information on filing taxes
- Employment & income assistance
- Services for families with children
- Resources for persons LIVING with disabilities
- Resources for seniors and 55 plus
- Addiction Services
- Health Needs
- Mental Health services
- Resources for First Nations
- Resources for Newcomers to Canada
- Food & housing etc.
Citizen rebate programs are available to Nova Scotians who qualify
- Energy Rebate Program
- Property Tax Rebate for Seniors
- Heating Assistance Rebate Program
- First-Time Home Buyers Rebate
- Rebate of NSST on Motor Vehicle for Individual With Loss of Use of Both Lower Limbs
- Rebate Related to HST on Motor Vehicle for Individual With Loss of Use of Both Lower Limbs
- Rebate Related to HST on Computer – available on a computer purchased by/for an individual who is physically, visually or hearing impaired or mentally challenged
- Rebate Related to HST on a Heritage Property
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is essentially comprised of two programs: Income and Employment Supports.
ODSP Income Supports:
The program provides financial assistance to people with disabilities who are 18 years of age or older, qualify financially (see below) and have a substantial physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent and is expected to last one year or more.
Candidates may also qualify if…
- They receive disability benefits under the Canada Pension Plan
- They are 65 or older and are not eligible for Old Age Security (OAS)
- They live in a psychiatric facility
- They live in a facility under the Development Services Act or in a home under the Homes for Special Care Act
Candidates may not qualify financially if…
- They are single and have over $5,000 in cash, RRSPs, or insurance policies
- They have a spouse or common-law partner and have over $7,500 in cash, RRSPs or in insurance policies
- They have children and a spouse or common-law partner and have over $7,500 + $500 (for each child) in cash, RRSPs or insurance policies
ODSP Employment Supports can help with:
- Planning and preparing for a job – could also include training;
- Technical aids ranging from mobility devices and reading aids to adapted computers – and the training to use them;
- Interpreter, reader, note taker, and intervener services;
- Job coaching and help with job searches; and
- Transportation assistance while you are training for a job. An individual may be eligible if they have a physical or mental disability that is expected to last a year or more and, as a result, makes it hard for them to find or keep a job. They do not need to be receiving ODSP Income support to be eligible for Employment Supports. If they are eligible or receiving disability or rehabilitation benefits from other public or private sources, they may not be eligible for the program. People on Ontario Works are not eligible.
Ontario Works (OW)
Ontario Works helps people who are in financial need. It offers two types of assistance:
- Financial assistance, including:
- income support to help with the costs of basic needs, like food, clothing and shelter
- health benefits for clients and their families
- Employment assistance to help clients find, prepare for and keep a job. This assistance may include:
- workshops on resume writing and interviewing
- job counselling
- job-specific training
- access to basic education, so clients can finish high school or improve their language skills
Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB)
The Ontario Drug Benefit covers most of the cost of more than 4,300 prescription drugs.
The ODB also helps you pay for:
- allergy shots and Epipen (used in response to severe allergic reaction)
- some products used in monitoring and testing for diabetes
- some prescribed over-the-counter drugs under specific circumstances (e.g. Ibuprofen 200mg, Ferrous sulphate 300)
- some nutrition products
- some drugs used in treatment of HIV/AIDS
- some drugs used in palliative care
ODB is for the following groups of people:
- People over the age of 65
- Residents of long-term care facilities and Homes for Special Care
- People receiving professional services under the Home Care program (Community Care Access Centre)
- People receiving social assistance – Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
- Trillium Drug Program recipients Ontario Drug Program recipients may be asked to pay a portion of drug costs at the Pharmacy.
Assistive Devices Program
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Assistive Devices Program funds over 8,000 separate pieces of equipment or supplies in the following categories :
- Wheelchairs/mobility aids and specialized seating systems;
- Enteral feeding supplies;
- Monitors and test strips for insulin-dependent diabetics (through an agreement with the Canadian Diabetes Association);
- Hearing aids;
- Insulin pumps and supplies for children;
- Respiratory equipment;
- Orthoses (braces, garments and pumps);
- Visual and communication aids ( ex. adaptive peripherals, artificial larynges, communication boards, mounting systems, signalling aids, teletypewriters for the speech impaired, voice amplifiers, voice output devices,voice prostheses, writing aids)
- Oxygen and oxygen delivery equipment, such as concentrators, cylinders, liquid systems and related supplies, such as masks and tubing
- Anyone with a long-term communication disability who requires the use of a communication aid for six months or longer
- Must be eligible for Ontario Health Insurance
- Must first be assessed at an ADP-designated (Assistive Devices Program) communication centre to determine eligibility to obtain funding for a communication display, computer or high-tech speech aid
- First time applicants must be seen by a medical doctor
The doctor will confirm the need for a communication aid and write a medical diagnosis on the second part of the ADP form
Assistive Devices Program, March of Dimes Canada
Home and Vehicle Modification Program, March of Dimes Canada
Funding is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Community, Family and Children’s Services. They provide up to $15,000 towards the cost for those who meet eligibility criteria.
Modifications are intended to eliminate imminent life safety risks, prevent hospitalization/institutionalization, permit discharge from a hospital/institution and avoid loss of employment and income.
- Residents of Ontario who are over 18 years of age and have a physical disability expected to last one year or more.
- Financial criteria must also be met; income limits vary
Attendant Care, March of Dimes Canada
Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, MOD attendants deliver one-on-one care to people over the age of 16 in their homes, schools or workplaces. Attendant Services are available to persons with permanent physical disabilities who have the ability to self-direct their care.
They can help with daily activities such as:
- Taking medication
- Personal grooming and hygiene
- Rising and retiring
- Dressing and undressing, bathing and washing
- Transferring, preparing meals
- Toileting, bowel/bladder services
- Ventilator and tracheotomy services
- Range of motion exercises
- Essential communication tasks
- Laundry, housekeeping, shopping and banking
- Taking day trips outside the home, for appointments, special events or leisure activities
Housing Programs, Province of Prince Edward Island
- The Seniors Safe @ Home Program allows seniors to access a lifetime grant of up to $5,000 to make the modifications necessary to ensure they are safe and healthy in their homes and enable them to maintain independence. The grant amount is determined based on income. To qualify for the grant, the modifications must support people aged 60 and over in their everyday activities.
- The Seniors Home Repair Program provides assistance to low and moderate-income seniors to make necessary repairs to one of the major components of the physical structure (for example, the roof, furnace, windows and doors). This program is not meant for cosmetic repairs or renovations. The repairs must be essential to the structure of the building as well as to health and safety. Applicants must be 60 years of age or older. The program will contribute 50 per cent of the cost of eligible repairs to a maximum of $2,000.
- PEI Home Renovations Program provides up to $6,000 to low income Islanders to complete renovations to one, or more, of the following areas: Heating; Electrical; Structural; Plumbing; or Fire Safety.
- Renovation Program for Persons with Disabilities provides up to $8,000 for individuals with a permanent disability who require renovations to their home to accommodate their disability.
- The Family Housing Program provides quality rental housing units for families who may not otherwise be able to obtain adequate housing. The program provides housing for Island families with low incomes, poor housing conditions or other special circumstances. Rent is 25 per cent of the tenant’s income.
- There are seniors housing apartment-style rental units in 33 communities across the province. Islanders aged 60 and older are eligible for assistance. Islanders who are 55 and older who have a disability are eligible to apply and will be given consideration based on the availability of seniors units. Tenants are selected based on their level of need. Staff consider their income, assets, health, age and present housing. Rent is 25 per cent of the tenant’s income.
Special Assistance Program, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Special Assistance Program is a provincial program which provides basic medical supplies and equipment to assist with activities of daily living for individuals living in the community who meet the eligibility criteria for the program. Benefits of the program include:
- medical supplies (such as dressings, catheters and incontinent supplies),
- oxygen and related equipment and supplies,
- Orthotics such as braces and burn garments, and
- Equipment such as wheelchairs, commodes or walkers.
Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS)
The Saskatchewan Income Support Program (SIS) is a program for families and individuals who, for various reasons, including disability, illness, low income or unemployment-cannot meet their basic living costs. Circumstances are assessed every month so the amount paid may change to reflect unexpected changes.s
Types of financial assistance that may be available if a person is eligible include:
- Basic Benefit: food, clothing, travel, personal and household items
- Shelter Benefit – includes rent, mortgage payments, utilities, taxes and all other shelter-related costs
- Household Health and Safety Benefit up to $500 to help replace household items or set up a new residence due to a disaster or interpersonal violence. An additional shelter Stabilization Benefit($150/month) can be provided to support clients who have difficulty maintaining stable housing.
- Short Term Emergency Assistance may be considered to address emergency situations that are unforeseen and when failing to do so would result in harm.
- Prescribed Diet Benefit for clients whose medical conditions require additional nutritional supplements or food. The benefit ranges from $50 to $150 depending on the conditions.
- Travel Benefit outside of community for medical purposes, at pre-determined rates for mileage, meals and shelter.
- Alternate Heating Benefit ($130/month) can be provided for clients who reside in a household where natural gas is not accessible and are required to heat their home with an alternate heat source.
- Employment and Training Benefit ($140) to help with costs of starting a career or beginning a training program.
- Children’s Benefit ($400) for a parent who is not eligible to receive the Canada Child Benefit for food, clothing, household items, and other child-related costs.
- Child Care Benefit ($30/day) to help in the short term when looking for employment or going to a job interview.
- Relocation Benefit of $200 or $300 depending on household size to assist with moving costs due to health and emergencies, evictions for reasons beyond client’s control, starting a job outside of the community or finding a more affordable place to live within the Shelter Benefit rates.
- Travel Benefit outside of the community for job interviews or beginning training/employment at pre-determined rates for mileage, meals and shelter.
- Security Deposit can be provided up to amount of the Shelter Benefit.
- Funeral Benefits will be provided to support the costs of funerals
Any person who needs financial help can apply for income support. You may be eligible if the following apply to you (and your spouse/partner, if you have one):
- you are a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident or have refugee status;
- you are living in Saskatchewan;
- you are 18 years or older;
- you have no income or low income; and
- you have explored every other reasonable way to support yourself, including employment, seeking child support, etc.
Saskatchewan Extended Benefits and Drug Plan
In addition to the normal coverage, additional benefits are available to persons who are: residents registered with the Sask. Aids to Independent Living (SAIL) Program, chronic end-stage renal disease patients, or cystic fibrosis patients; Sask. Assistance Plan beneficiaries; or registered to Palliative Care Program.
Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID)
The Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) is an income support program for people with significant and enduring disabilities.
It offers individuals the dignity of greater choice of services and participation in their community.
Government and members of the disability community continue to work together to make improvements to the SAID program – to make improvements to funding and service delivery.
Adapt a Home for a Person Experiencing Disability, Saskatchewan Housing Corporation
Eligible homeowners and rental property owners may receive a forgivable loan of up to $23,000. For modifications to their residence to assist with daily living. Examples: ramps and lifts for wheelchairs/scooters, widening doorways, remodeled bathroom facilities, air purifiers, interior lighting modified. Prior approval is required by Sask. Housing Corp. before any renovations/modifications begin.