Diabetes Canada, Heart & Stroke and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society have endorsed Fitness Industry Council of Canada’s (FIC) proposal to the federal government
to make gym memberships and services tax deductible in the April 19th federal budget.
“We are thrilled to have these health advocates on board,” says Sara Hodson, FIC federal advocacy lead and CEO of LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic. “These organizations know exercise helps prevent and treat chronic illness and mental health. Exercise is a proven treatment for ‘coronavirus anxiety’– a new challenge which many Canadians have now experienced. We need a tool to come out of the pandemic healthier. We need exercise.”
Hodson met with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in late January to discuss ways to help the fitness industry rebound from the pandemic. FIC presented data that supports ‘Exercise is Medicine’ as a health prevention tool, and the cost savings this would provide to the federal government. The tax deduction would stimulate the fitness industry back into action, which will incentivize Canadians to get active and create more jobs.
Research shows that 150 minutes of exercise weekly has positive health benefits
for both physical and mental well-being. Exercise helps prevent and treat Type 2 Diabetes, that afflicts one-third of Canadians. Additionally, almost 6 million Canadians are living with prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal. “In our LIVE WELL clinics, we have seen the impact exercise can have on managing healthy blood sugars in as little as ten minutes of exercise,” says Hodson.
Diabetes Canada is endorsing a nation-wide strategy to combat diabetes, and exercise will play a key role. Currently, 80 percent of Canadians do not get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise weekly. One third of Canadians are more sedentary now than at the start of the pandemic, and an additional one-third have gained weight. Six out of ten Canadians are experiencing a mental health issue, and heart disease is the leading cause of premature death for Canadian women.
Scott Wildeman, president of FIC, says the gym membership tax deduction will help all Canadians. “It will ensure that individuals are supported by fitness professionals - especially coming out of this pandemic - as gyms once again start to become a part of a regular routine to support health and wellness. This tax deduction will also support the fitness economy that employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians. We need to get moving. We need action.”
To arrange interviews with Scott Wildeman or Sara Hodson, please contact:
Erin Phelan LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, 416.822.8621 firstname.lastname@example.org