Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 10th federal budget on Tuesday, February 11th this week announced that naturopathic doctors will be added to the list of health care professionals whose services are exempt from the GST/HST under the Excise Tax Act. The exemption took effect immediately as of the next day after the budget on Wednesday, February 12, 2014.
The Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors [CAND] has exerted concentrated efforts on demonstrating to the government the positive impact that exempting the GST/HST will have on Canadians seeking a more natural approach to their health care and we are pleased to see the government's recognition in this recent budget announcement.
The CAND applauds the federal government for exempting GST/HST on services provided by naturopathic doctors since this move will provide greater access for patients seeking a proactive approach to their health care needs and for those looking for an individualized, whole person approach to prevent and treat health problems which now have the conventional medical system overwhelmed and outnumbered.
"Naturopathic doctors are, indeed, primary healthcare providers. They integrate standard, medical diagnostics with a broad range of therapies", said Dr. Pat Wales, ND, Chair of the CAND. "Having patients pay taxes on essential primary health care services didn't sit well with our members, or our patients, and we are pleased that the Government of Canada agreed".
Naturopathic doctors are regulated/licensed in five provinces and two more are soon to follow. Naturopathic doctors can, and do, work together with other medical practitioners as part of a patient's overall health care team resulting in improved outcomes in some of the most chronic and costly areas of the healthcare system including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
"Patients want greater health care options, partnerships, and access tools that will empower them to become and remain healthy", added Shawn O'Reilly, Executive Director of the CAND. "Removing taxes on services provided by naturopathic doctors will not only help remove the barriers to such options for patients, it will help ensure our healthcare system stimulates the economy for future health care sustainability".
Please note, however, that the GST/HST is still due on the sale of any medicines, supplements and health products.
To help bring this significant legislative tax change to reality, you can listen below to the Beatles singing Taxman. There seems to be no live group performance available except for one by George Harrison which follows as well. But this is fitting because George wrote the song in 1966 and he composed it in anger over the British government taking 95% of the Beatles' earnings which had placed them in the top tax bracket.