My wife and I bought a lovely 260-year-old Colonial house in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia 15 years ago. We thought to ourselves at the time, how hard can the renovations really be? With 20/20 hindsight and the passage of time, we now realize how insanely difficult a process we undertook. Dealing with your family Doctor can be difficult at the best of times. It can be downright demoralizing when it comes to getting a Disability Tax Credit Certificate medical report completed by your practitioner.
I approached my Physician requesting that he complete a T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate (DTC) for me a couple of years ago. This application was based primarily upon the inordinate amount of time that I was spending in the bathroom daily due to near constant diarrhea caused by one of my diabetic medications. My Doctor looked at me and told me that I wouldn’t qualify and refused to complete the certificate for me. Being the CEO of Paladin Disability and a Disability Tax Credit subject matter expert, I clarified for my Physician that it was not his job to determine the merits of my application. I told him the Canada Revenue Agency would review his medical report and adjudicate my application. His job was to simply provide relevant medical information. My Doctor then challenged my daily bowel care timeline stating that he hadn’t witnessed it firsthand. I suggested to him that it was unlikely that he would monitor the bathroom habits of any of his patients over a protracted period of time. In any event, I said, it was enough for him to offer his medical opinion as to whether my bowel care timeline was supported by my diagnosis, chart and his knowledge of my case. Again, he refused to complete the form. I further explained that he had both a legal and ethical obligation to complete a medical report upon request by a patient he was attending. Once again, he refused. I had no other Doctor to go to and I was faced with only one option. I could file a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons and ask them to intervene and remind my Doctor of his ethical and legal obligations. My fear was that my Doctor would likely cut my family and I lose if I were to take this route. This was a frightening possibility given my need for regular diabetic care and the near impossibility of finding another Physician in the near term.
As luck would have it, my Doctor took an extended leave and moved, and my family and I were able to transfer to another Family Doctor’s care. A few months ago, I approached my new Doctor and asked him to complete a Disability Tax Credit Certificate for me. He was hesitant because he didn’t know how to calculate an inordinate amount of time with respect to my daily bowel care regime. I had to explain that the Canada Revenue Agency considers it an inordinate amount of time if it takes me three times longer to manage my daily bowel care than a person of my age without my impairment. That being said, the rub was that no one, including CRA can tell you how long a person of any specific age group takes to manage their daily bowel care. This makes it exceedingly difficult to prove that it takes you three times longer if you don’t have a baseline to start with. By the end of the appointment, my new Physician reasoned, it takes an average able-bodied person 4-6 minutes daily to manage their daily bowel care. Therefore, the hour I was spending was significantly greater than three times this amount of time. He completed the Disability Tax Credit Certificate and I scanned and filed it online with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Several weeks later CRA sent a questionnaire to my new Doctor which he completed and returned to CRA. When I asked for a copy of the document for my records, the Doctor’s office refused. Once again, I had to intervene and explain to the staff that I would need this information in order to potentially appeal an adverse decision. I further explained to the medical office staff that pursuant to McInerney v. MacDonald, The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that while the Doctor may own the paper record in question, the information contained within belonged to me and must be disclosed to me upon request with very few exceptions. My Doctor eventually let me take photos of the questionnaire with my iPhone.
The purpose of this story is to demonstrate how difficult it can be, even for a seasoned professional, to navigate the complexities associated with the completion of the Disability Tax Credit Certificate with your Family Physician. From Professional experience, I know that the majority of Physician’s want to assist their patients and are co-operative in the completion of the Disability Tax Credit Certificate. However, there are significant numbers of Doctors who are uncomfortable completing the DTC, or don’t understand their role in the process, or simply don’t have the want or desire to get involved.