Disability Tax Credit Certificate case won by Lembi Buchanan in 2001 had reverberations across Canada
Lembi Buchanan (right) receives Access Award for Disability Issues from Toronto Councillor Pam McConnell (left) (photo Toronto.ca)
Archive Nov 2001 Part of a series reporting the ten years of harassment of Canadians with disabilities by Canada Revenue Agency- Lembi Buchanan represented her husband in a landmark case at the Federal Tax Court when CRA refused his Disability Tax Credit. Buchanan won in court and became an important advocate for people with disabilities. She served on the “Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Treatment for Persons with Disabilities which led to a major overhaul of the eligibility criteria for the DTC, especially for persons with mental impairments.”
by Lembi Buchanan, from ARCH
When is a disability not a disability?
The bureaucrats at Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (“CCRA”) believe that they know exactly where to draw the line. Instead of relying on the medical profession for an accurate and fair assessment of the severity of each patient’s disability according to the eligibility criteria in the Income Tax Act, CCRA has revised the Disability Tax Credit (“DTC”) Certificate, form T2201, to simplify the process. What could be easier for the physician than checking off a few “yes” and “no” boxes?
Of course, nothing in life is quite that simple. The current DTC form has created a hurdle that is virtually impossible for every individual disabled by a severe mental impairment to surmount because the federal government has made two assumptions that are not true:
1. individuals with a severe and prolonged mental impairment cannot think, perceive or remember, and
2. individuals with a severe and prolonged mental impairment cannot manage or initiate personal care without constant supervision.
The recent court case of Buchanan v. Her Majesty the Queen underlines the urgent need for a full review the DTC Certificate because it discriminates against individuals with severe and prolonged mental impairments. Continue reading