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SUBJECT: Allowing fitness services to be claimed as a medical expense
Dear Mr./Ms. <lastname>, MP:
The health of Canadians is in jeopardy. The fitness industry has been devastated by COVID-19. Many fitness professionals are unemployed or under employed.
However, there is a solution that will address all three of these issues.
Healthcare costs in Canada can be reduced and prevented by allowing fitness services to be tax deductible in our personal taxes. This option already exists as line 33099. It is a simple matter of making athletic and fitness service fees ELIGIBLE under this line.
Exercise plays a vital role in the physical and mental health of Canadians – which is currently at an all time low. Physical activity and exercise manages and prevents ailments such as hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. These are some of the top commodities of COVID-19. Exercise also has the power to treat forms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. With a tax deduction on fitness services, Canadians will be motivated to get the extra support they need for preventative care. Healthy individuals are less likely to be hospitalized – making fitness services imperative to the management and prevention of chronic disease.
Currently, on personal taxes, we can get deductions for visiting the dentist as well as for purchasing Vitamin B12 – these are examples of preventative contributions to our health. If these expenses are considered medical expenses and cost deductible, why aren’t fitness services? Exercise is medicine and fitness is health, and it should be considered as healthcare.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lock down of gyms, fitness studios, martial arts centres, dance studios, and other facilities associated with fitness and recreation has been devastating. Many facilities were forced to shut down completely, and those that have been able to operate have done so at 10% to 50% of projected revenue. This has not only been harmful for fitness businesses, but also for Canadians’ accessibility and commitment to their personal wellness.
This tax deduction will not only support the health of Canadians, but it will also help to rebuild the fitness industry and the economy. The fitness industry hires over 150,000 employees who serve over six million Canadians. Fitness professionals are a resource when it comes to supporting health care – whether it is gyms, fitness studios, martial arts centers, dance/gymnastics clubs, and any other physical service/business, the fitness industry advocates for exercise as medicine.
<INCLUDE YOUR OWN INFORMATION. IF YOU OWN A FITNESS BUSINESS: Include a line about your own facility/business. Are you open/closed? Using other means of income such as virtual methods? Have you had to let staff go? How many? What would this initiative mean to you? IF YOU ARE AN EMPLOYEE: Are you currently working? In what capacity has your employment been harmed? How effective has CEWS been? How does your employment assist the public? What do you offer your customers? Why is a fitness tax deduction important to you? IF YOU ARE A CUSTOMER: How has the pandemic impacted your life? How has the current access to fitness services been a challenge for you? Why is having the extra support that fitness services provide beneficial? What would having a tax deduction on fitness services mean to you?>
The recommendation and economic recovery plan to include fitness services as a tax deduction and claimed as a medical expense has been presented to Deputy Prime Minister / Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and is being considered for the 2021 budget.
The movement has the potential to create drastic social and economical change – something that you can be proud to be a part of. With the sincere belief that this will have profound and immediate benefits for Canadians, I request that you consider advocating for this solution to Canada’s healthcare crisis.
Please view the press release on the fitness industry’s request here
. This initiative has the opportunity to set an example on the international change as a country leading the way to prioritize health and fitness.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
<your contact information>
[You may want to attach the following information.]
Physical activity and exercise has proven effective as an intervention and method of treatment:
- Reduce incidence of hypertension by 33-60%.
- Reduce incidence of diabetes by 25-58%.
- Reduce risk of stroke by 31-45%.
- Reduce risk of colon cancer by 30-60%.
- Reduce mortality and risk of recurrent breast cancer by 25-50%.
- Reduce risk of developing Alzheimer's by 40%.
- Decrease depression as effectively as medications or cognitive behavioural therapy.
- Reduce the risk of premature death by 31-65%.
(Summarized by Blair et al, 2009)