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?

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  1. Kim R8:38 am

    As you can't claim until 2007 tax return (filed in April 2008) The parents still have to put out the initial costs for this year, which doesn't help the families whom are finicailly unable to register their children in an activity. They will have to struggle through 2007 and HOPE they get a half decent tax credit to put towards 2008. Even then you are lucky to get your return by the month of May, therefore that initial cost again has already been paid out by the parents for 2008 season.

  2. Hi me again !
    I have 4 girls 1 which is 11 and spends 7 hours a week training in Gymnastics, 1 whom is 9 in swimming once a week for an hour. The other 2 are younger and undecided. I do appreciate the efforts towards helping with the fitness credit, BUT instead of spending the expected $160 million a year toward this benefit, which will only go towards children involved in SOME sporting activities. Why not increase the child tax monthly credit. This will benefit all children. i know some families that are finacially strapped, and I feel this will benefit them more.
    There a plenty of other ways the weight issue can be handled, and that starts with the parents taking control.