Letters to the Editor – March 2012

Shawn BuckleySHAWN BUCKLEY ON HEALTH CANADA’S “SYSTEMATIC DEMOLITION OF THE HEALTH INDUSTRY”
(Re: https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/health-canadas-war-on-natural-health/ and https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/in-defence-of-digestive-enzymes/ in the February 2012 issue of Vitality.)

Dear Editor: Both writers refer to Health Canada’s use of spurious and vague ‘safety concerns’ to remove effective natural products from the market.
In my law practice I give advice to people facing enforcement action by Health Canada’s Inspectorate. It is common for Health Canada to write a demand letter which states that a consumer has complained about a product or products that are unlicensed. Health Canada never discloses the identity of the “consumer”. Nor will they give any useful details of the complaint.
I always take these assertions of complaints with a grain of salt. Several years ago I was defending companies facing charges by Health Canada in three different provinces. If I recall correctly all were begun by a “consumer” complaint to Health Canada by a person who is a professional complainer and who publicly admits he is funded by the pharmaceutical industry.
We are nearing an absolute crisis in the industry where our level of engagement to protect access must intensify. I urge your readers to follow the advice in these two articles and contact their MPs immediately.
I will be lecturing and participating in an expert panel at Toronto’s Total Health Show https://www.totalhealthshow.com April 20-22, 2012; where we will be informing the public on the current systematic demolition of the natural health industry. In the meantime, advice and support for taking specific action are available at https://www.nhppa.org
Shawn Buckley LLB

DIET, DISEASE, AND TAXATION

Dear Editor: Based on statistics provided by the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, more than 20 million Canadians suffer from digestive disorders every year. That is over 50% of this country’s population. This statistic confirms the fact that we all know someone near and dear to our hearts who in one way or another suffers from a digestive health issue.
Whether these medical conditions are accurately diagnosed, misdiagnosed or diagnosed at all by a certified medical professional is yet another issue that every Canadian will be facing sooner or later. For many health conscious Canadians, the best way to avoid digestive health issues is to find the optimal dietary and nutritional foods and products for everyday consumption.
Every spring, when tax time rolls around, many Canadians wonder to what extent dietary restrictions can be utilized towards a non-refundable tax credit in order to reduce taxes payable for the year. The short answer is that – with the exception of celiac disease – there are very few medical tax credits available for dietary requirements of the average Canadian suffering from a digestive health disorder.
The Canada Revenue Agency states that: Persons who suffer from celiac disease (gluten intolerance) can claim the incremental costs associated with the purchase of gluten-free (GF) products as a medical deduction. For example, if a loaf of gluten-free bread costs $6.50 and the average loaf of bread costs $3.00, then a medical deduction of $3.50 can be utilized as a tax credit for the additional cost of the gluten-free bread. The government will require proof that the taxpayer is actually suffering from the disease, so a note from a medical doctor stating as such accompanied by all the purchase receipts of gluten-free products will have to accompany the individual’s income tax return in order to maximize on the deduction.
Unfortunately, other than celiac disease, there are no other digestive health diseases that get the same tax treatment. This is largely due to the Canada Revenue Agency’s inability to recognize alternative medicines as a bona fide medical deduction; a stance that is often questioned in the courts with varying degrees of success.
One has to wonder, as the diagnosis of Canadians suffering from celiac disease increases and as gluten-free products become more readily available, will the government continue to support this deduction for just one of many digestive health illnesses, or, on the other hand, will the CRA at some point have to recognize that non-prescription diets and medicines are indeed medical related and worthy of the non-refundable tax credit.
Rafi Khazaei, Senior Staff Accountant
Harley P. Saltzman, CGA
rafi [at] harleypsaltzman [dot] com

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