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Psychotherapy should be tax-free in Canada, new campaign says

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A new campaign is aiming to lastly clear away a monetary barrier to remedy — a tax on counselling therapists and psychotherapists’ companies, which consultants say is unfair.


While different psychological well being professionals can provide their sufferers an exemption from the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST), counselling therapists and psychotherapists at present aren’t in a position to, one thing the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association has been lobbying for years to alter.


Now, a new campaign they’ve launched this month goals to lastly shut that hole.


“Counselling therapists and psychotherapists across the country have shared that adding GST or HST to psychotherapy services has limited access,” Lindsey Thomson, director of public affairs for the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, stated at a press convention final week to launch the new campaign, Tax Free Therapy.


“This unfair tax should not be a barrier to affording mental health care.”


The campaign’s dedicated website explains that counselling therapists and psychotherapists are the one psychological well being professionals required to cost GST/HST, and prompts Canadians to signal a parliamentary petition and ship a letter to their MP together with Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.


Thomson, who’s herself a registered psychotherapist who has been working with purchasers over the previous six years, stated the necessity for these companies is large.


“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, psychotherapy was already the most requested, but the least met, health-care need of Canadians,” she stated.


The unequal taxing of those companies “has to change,” in order to assist meet the necessity of Canadians, she stated.


“Social workers, psychologists and occupational therapists have already been exempt from charging this tax for providing the same psychotherapy service,” she added.


‘BUREAUCRATIC SEMANTICS’ BARRING MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS


If different psychological well being professionals akin to social employees and psychologists can provide their companies with out having to cost GST/HST, why aren’t the companies of psychotherapists/counselling therapists handled the identical?


It comes all the way down to a easy confusion over what the titles of counselling therapists/psychotherapists imply, the petition explains.


A occupation is eligible to be GST/HST exempt nationally whether it is regulated as a well being occupation “by at least five provinces or territories,” the petition states.


Counselling remedy/psychotherapy meets this standards, with Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island all together with a remedy occupation that’s regulated as well being care.


However, the title of the occupation ranges from province to province, with Quebec and Ontario each referring to psychotherapists and Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island specifying counselling therapists because the job.


“A tax exemption was refused because the provinces regulated the profession under different titles,” the petition states.


But there’s functionally no distinction between these jobs, consultants say — counselling therapist and psychotherapist are primarily two phrases for a similar factor, and the title is merely a matter of regional choice.


“Counselling therapy and psychotherapy are the same profession as demonstrated by a shared scope of practice, comparable qualification requirements, aligned codes of ethics, and recognition under the Canada Free Trade Agreement,” the petition clarifies.


“This is a bureaucratic game of semantics that is causing barriers to further accessing services during a time of extreme need for Canadians,” Thomson added.


The Canadian Revenue Agency’s web site confirms that psychotherapists should cost their sufferers GST/HST, whereas different health-care practitioners who’re already eligible for tax exemption don’t have to cost that tax for psychotherapy companies.


“Currently, there is no provision in the (Excise Tax Act) that specifically exempts from the GST/HST supplies of psychotherapy services or services rendered by a psychotherapist, even if the psychotherapist is licensed and renders the service in a province that regulates the profession of psychotherapy,” the web site states. “Therefore, a psychotherapist is required to collect GST/HST on his or her supplies of services, if he or she is a GST/HST registrant.”


Although the GST/HST quantity might be small for a single go to, the added financial burden of getting to pay taxes for each remedy go to could make accessing this assist daunting for some Canadians.


According to the Tax Free Therapy campaign’s web site, one in 4 Canadians aged 18 or older confirmed signs of despair, nervousness or post-traumatic stress dysfunction in spring of 2021, and 5.3 million Canadians stated they wanted assist for his or her psychological well being in 2017.


“Of these, 2.3 (million) reported that their needs were only partially met or actually fully unmet,” Thomson stated. “In the wake of the pandemic, it’s widely known that many Canadians have struggled with their mental health, whether its the isolation of lockdowns or quarantine, losing a job, not having adequate child care, or the loss of a loved one, (so) the estimated number of 5.3 million has surely skyrocketed.”


In December 2021, a invoice was tabled to amend the Excise Tax Act and make psychotherapy companies tax free — Bill C-218 — however a budgetary invoice additionally should be tabled to make the change, one thing famous in the petition.


The aim of the petition and the campaign as a complete is to drive Parliament to reply and get the invoice handed. Since the launch, the petition has garnered greater than 6,000 signatures, with greater than 600 letters despatched to MPs, based on a press launch.


Making psychotherapist/counselling therapists companies exempt from GST/HST would value round $3 million in 2022-23 in phrases of the discount in GST income, and round $76 million over the following 5 years, based on an official estimation of Bill C-218 by the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.


However, that is pennies in comparison with the general GST/HST income yearly, which was $37.4 billion in 2019-20, based on information from Statistics Canada.


And the toll that psychological sickness has on Canadians is an financial one as effectively. The Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates that the financial value of these residing with untreated psychological well being struggles is greater than $50 billion yearly.


Experts say that rising entry to psychological well being companies by eliminating this tax will consequence in saving far more cash than would be taken out of the GST income.


And contemplating the pandemic’s measurable influence on the psychological well being of Canadians, that is one thing that issues now greater than ever, Thomson says.


“The government can demonstrate its commitment to supporting the mental health of Canadians by eliminating the tax on counselling therapy services.”



Source: www.ctvnews.ca

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