Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Children's Fitness Tax Credit for Rich Canadians

Last week Jim Flaherty, the Minister of Finance, released the guidelines for the Children's Fitness Tax Credit.

If you want to use it, it's sure as heck gonna cost ya.

In order to qualify you'll have to enroll your child in an ongoing supervised program that,

"includes a significant amount of physical activity that contributes to cardio-respiratory endurance, plus one or more of: Muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and balance."
But wait, there's more! Eligible programs must,
"last at least eight weeks at a minimum of one session per week"
That sure sounds like one hell of an expensive tax credit as it's not as if the credit's going to cover the costs of these programs in their entirety!

What about the Canadians who can't afford to send their children to organized programs?

What about the Canadians who might live in the country where the availablity of such programs is minimal?

What about the Canadians whose kids don't happen to enjoy organized sports?

What about the Canadians who are too busy trying to put food on their tables to drive their kids around to sports, let alone outfitting them in gear and paying for their supervision?

Does the government really think that a small tax credit is actually going to enable families who otherwise can't afford to send or outfit their children for organized sports to actually do so?

Why can't the tax credit be applied to anything that might promote physical activity in children?

What about the purchase of skates? A family might not be able to afford to send their kid to play competitive hockey, but a pair of skates and a local rink sure can afford a kid a great deal of exercise.

What about running shoes, a sled, roller blades, a baseball glove, a football or a basketball net?

Why does play have to be organized and supervised in order to be valuable as a determinant of health?

It may surprise you to learn that over the course of the last seven years, Canada has posted a budget surplus of over $60 billion, and it's predicted that there will be similar surpluses over the next seven years.

Why not use some of it to help all of our children become more active, not just the rich ones?