Government Assistance 

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Registered Disability Savings Plan
Help Someone Else

If you're entitled to the disability tax credit you may also be entitled to the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). Our comments on this page however, are focused on young people. Adults who have experienced life's challenges are often those who are best able to rally support for those who cannot help themselves.  

This plan came into effect in 2008. It was driven by Jim Flaherty, the then Finance Minister, who knew first hand that poverty is the biggest fear for persons with disabilities as they grow older. The RDSP was the first plan in the world that committed government funds to help alleviate this possibility. Here's how it works.

If you are entitled to the Disability Tax Credit you can apply. The idea is to help you save for a time when you might not be able to rely on the help of others as much. Here in a nutshell are the highlights -

  • The plan can be started by the applicant himself, his parents or guardian if the applicant is a minor or someone legally appointed to look after someone's affairs

  • Anyone can contribute if the plan holder approves, including friends

  • Currently, the federal government will provide an annual matching contribution ranging from 100 - 300% up to $3,500 annually under the terms of the Canada Disability Saving Grant Provision.  There are certain limitations related to family income. $70,000 is currently available as a lifetime limit under this provision

  • A $1,000 annual contribution is available under the terms of the Canada Disability Savings Bond, currently available for families who do not have the means to contribute

Low income earners benefit the most. But do not go away with the idea that this generous government plan will only benefit them. As a last word, we encourage you to talk to your financial advisor. Another good alternative is to talk to your banker - they administer the plans and should have all the latest up to date information.                                


All Canadian chartered banks offer some basic information on their web sites

MoneySense Magazine, April, 2014 edition. An excellent article by David Hodges     Registered Disability Savings Plan: A Path to Prosperity

Assistance offered by Nova Scotia

211 NS Provincial & Municipal assistance
"By dialing 211 or visiting the 211 website, users can easily and quickly connect to the community and social services they need, anywhere in the province, regardless of where they're located."

211 NS Boarding, Transportation & Ostomy Program

Assists cancer patients with:

  • Either gas costs or shuttle/taxi service for travel to medical appointments

  • Funding to hospital outpatient hostels for those qualified applicants that need to stay in Halifax or Sydney during treatment

  • Will cover the cost of a travel escort if a patient cannot attend a medical appointment on their own

  • Cost of ostomy supplies

NS 811 Telecare

"With 811, Nova Scotians have trusted health information at their fingertips. Just three numbers - 8-1-1, and you will have access to non-emergency health information and services. If you are hearing-impaired and would like to access this service, call 7-1-1 (TTY)."

Nova Scotia Seniors' Pharmacare Program

"The Nova Scotia Seniors' Pharmacare Program is a provincial drug insurance plan that helps eligible seniors with the cost of their prescription drugs." 

Disability Tax Credit
Help yourself

The Federal Government understands that individuals with disabilities that are prolonged have significant expenses that cannot be claimed as medical expenses in the normal way. The Disability Tax Credit can help those who are restricted in dealing with “Basic activities of daily living” reduce the income tax the individual, partner or dependant may have to pay. Elimination, meaning bowel or bladder functions, is one of the 7 listed Basic Activities that qualify for this credit. 

A medical doctor, usually your family doctor, is required to complete the Elimination section of the application.  There are 2 conditions that your doctor needs to consider.

 A.  Are you restricted all or substantially all of the time (at least 90% of the time)?
This means that, at least 90% of the time, you cannot perform, or it takes you longer to perform, a basic activity of daily living, which, for an ostomate, is elimination. Having an ostomy means that you eliminate your waste through a hole in your abdomen. This is not normal. If you have an ostomy you are restricted 100% of the time.

B.  Does it take you an inordinate amount of time to manage bowel or bladder functions?
This is a judgment by your doctor who is able to say that using the bathroom takes you three times as long or longer than would normally be the case. Many ostomates are keenly aware of the time and care that is necessary to properly manage an ostomy and elimination. Examples of inordinate amount of time follow.

Urostomy Care may include

  • Urostomates have undergone surgical removal of the bladder and they are therefore incontinent. Urine drips non-stop into a pouch that needs to be emptied 6-8 times a day

  • At night-time an additional drainage system is often used to avoid frequent trips to the bathroom to empty the pouch

  • Pouch changes every 4-6 days

  • Meticulous skin care is essential. Pouch changes can be very time consuming. Because the dripping never stops, some form of wicking may need to be in place to stop any urine from falling onto the skin around the stoma which needs to be kept dry. If this happens the pouch seal is compromised and more frequent pouch changes are needed

  • Parastomal hernias can result in increased incidence of excoriated skin around the stoma and a higher incidence of pouch seal failure

Ileostomy Care may include

  • Bowel movements 5-7 times daily

  • Pouch changes every 4-6 days

  • Careful skin care is important. Excoriated skin around the stoma is both painful and time consuming to deal with

  • Parastomal hernias can result in increased incidence of excoriated skin around the stoma and a higher incidence of pouch seal failure

  • Blockages

Colostomy Care may include

  • If your bowels move just once a day, this in itself may not fall under the definition "Inordinate amount of time". However, the number of bowel movements may depend on the amount of the colon removed

  • Pouch changes every 4-6 days

  • Skin care is important. Excoriated skin around the stoma is both painful and time consuming to deal with

  • Parastomal hernias can result in increased incidence of excoriated skin around the stoma and a higher incidence of pouch seal failure

  • Some people with a colostomy manage elimination with Irrigation

  • Blockages

The above points are general. Some may apply to you and others may not. Your pouch wear time and emptying frequency may be more/less than indicated. There may well be other issues that you deal with that are not listed. Be concise, truthful and factual. Keep in mind that the time it takes to go and get ostomy supplies, housekeeping chores and other non bathroom issues cannot be listed under your “three times longer list.”

If you feel you qualify under both A. and B. you should proceed with your application. The combination of both conditions A. and B. means that you consider you are Markedly Restricted in eliminating. If your Doctor agrees with you then he/she will be prepared to support the application for the Disability Tax Credit.

CRA Tax Form:

Part A, Page I is the only page you need to complete. If you're not able to take advantage of the credit it is possible that a spouse/partner or a relative, that lives with you and is dependent on you, may be able to do so.
If you had ostomy surgery a few years ago, Section 3 gives you an opportunity to have your successful application backdated which may result in a refund of taxes paid in prior years up to a maximum of 10 years.

Your doctor has to complete the Elimination section at the top of Page 3 and all of Page 5, Effects of impairment and Duration. If your surgery is temporary and is expected to be reversed, you may wish to wait before making an application.

Help yourself and your Doctor by making notes –

  • The date of your surgery

  • If your surgery is permanent say so. You may not have to re-apply in the future

  • Make a list of why you feel you qualify under the two definitions noted in A. and B. above. Keep in mind that your Doctor probably doesn’t have an ostomy - you do. She/he may not be aware of all the issues you have to deal with. And remember, the CRA defines the word “disability” not in the way most of us think of the term, but rather, in the two very specific definitions noted in A. and B. above. Ask your doctor if you can leave the notes you have prepared

Disability-Related Information Guide RC4064  clearly lays out the definitions that apply to the word "disability" for the purposes of this tax credit. The publication contains a lot of additional information about non-refundable and refundable tax credits, other income tax measures, online services and more. Now, all information that relates to those with disabilities is in one place.

Ostomy Canada's New Disability Tax Credit Brochure

This new publication is a joint effort between Ostomy Canada and the Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy (CAET). Clicking on the link below will take you directly to Ostomy Canada's website page which contains downloadable files for both the English and French version of this new, informative brochure.

Ostomy Canada Disability Tax Credit Brochure
If you haven't visited this great website yet, spend some time there, you'll be glad you did!