Medical expenses: Travel expenses, moving expenses, adaptation of a van, and attendant care services

What’s in this article?


What is this?

You can claim medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law paid for yourself, your spouse or common-law partner, and your dependants. The medical expenses tax credit is non-refundable and can be used to reduce your tax payable.

Some of the most common eligible expenses you can claim are medical services provided by qualified medical practitioners, prescription medications and eyeglasses/contact lenses, dental services, and more. Click this link for a complete list of eligible medical expense.

You can also claim travel expenses you paid in order to receive medical treatment, moving expenses to move to a more accessible house, attendant care services, or expenses paid to adapt a van to accommodate a person using a wheelchair.


Am I eligible?

To qualify for the medical expenses tax credit, the following conditions must be met:

  • You must have paid eligible medical expenses for yourself, your spouse or common-law partner, or a dependant;
  • You must have supporting receipts which show the name of the company or individual to whom the expense was paid;
  • You must have paid for eligible medical expenses within any12-month period ending in the tax year, except where the individual for whom the expenses were paid died in the year, in which case the medical expenses must be paid within any 24-month period that includes the date of death;
  • The medical expenses amount must not have been used in calculating a disability supports deduction, a refundable medical expense supplement, home-support services for seniors, and independent living tax credit for seniors; and
  • You must have not been reimbursed for the medical expenses or deducted the expenses elsewhere in your income tax return. 

Travel expenses

You can claim travel expenses that you paid in order to receive medical services. The following conditions must be met:

  • Equivalent medical services are not available near your home;
  • You took a reasonably direct travelling route; and
  • It is reasonable, under the circumstances, for you to have travelled to that place for those medical services.

If you had to travel at least 40 kilometres (one way) from your home to obtain medical treatment that is not available locally, you may be able to claim public transportation costs (taxis, bus or train) as a medical expense or vehicle expenses, if public transportation is not available. For distances over 80 kilometres, you may be able to also claim meals, parking, and accommodations. You can choose to use either the detailed or simplified method for calculating meal and vehicle expenses. Click this link for more information on calculating these travel expenses.

If a medical practitioner certified in writing that you are incapable of traveling alone, reasonable transportation and travel expenses for a companion are also claimable.

For medical services provided outside of Canada, you can claim the amounts you paid to a medical practitioner and a public or licensed private hospital. Amounts spent have to be converted to Canadian dollars.

If you are a resident of Québec and you travelled to obtain medical treatment not available in your area, the following expenses are eligible:

  • Travel and lodging expenses paid to obtain, in Québec, medical services that are not available within 250 kilometres of the area in which you live;
  • Moving expenses paid to move to within 80 kilometres of a health establishment in Québec that is located 250 kilometres or more from the area in which you formerly lived.

Moving Expenses

If you, your spouse/common-law partner, or a dependant has a severe and prolonged mobility impairment, you can claim up to $2,000 in moving expenses (if not claimed anywhere else on the tax return) to move to a house that is more accessible or in which the person is more functional. For residents of Ontario, the provincial limit is $2,728.

Adaptation of a Van

You can claim a portion of the amount paid to purchase a van for use in transporting a person who uses a wheelchair as an eligible medical expense. The van has to be adapted at the time of purchase or within six months of purchase.

The amount claimable is 20% of the amount paid for a van that is adapted or is adapted within six months of the purchase (minus the cost of adapting the van), to a maximum of $5,000 (for residents of Ontario, the provincial limit is $6,686). 

Attendant Care Services

These are expenses paid for attendant care in any of the following places:

  • Self-contained domestic establishments (such as your home);
  • Retirement homes, homes for seniors, or other institutions;
  • Nursing homes (full-time);
  • Schools, institutions, or other places (providing care or care and training); and
  • Group homes in Canada.

You cannot claim amounts paid to a spouse or common-law partner or if the attendant is under 18 years of age.

 Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) says…

Generally, you can claim the entire amount paid for full-time care in a nursing home and for the care, or training and care, at a school or institution. In all other cases, the fees claimed must be for salaries and wages paid for attendant care services.

Note: All regular fees paid to a nursing home including food, accommodation, nursing care, administration, maintenance, social programming and activities qualify as medical expenses. However, extra personal expenses such as hairdresser fees are not allowable.

If you qualify for the disability amount, you can claim nursing home fees paid for full-time care as a medical expense or the disability amount, but not both. Alternatively, If you qualify for the disability amount, you can claim the part of the nursing home fees paid for full-time care that relate only to salaries and wages as attendant care expenses (up to a maximum of $10,000 or $20,000 if the person died in the year) and claim the disability amount on the appropriate line.

Click this link for more information on which attendant care expenses you can claim and supporting documents you will need.


Revenu Québec says…

You may include in your medical expenses remuneration paid to an attendant (for yourself, your spouse or a dependant), if all the following conditions are met:

  • The person who received the care had a severe and prolonged impairment in mental or physical functions;
  • The care was provided in Canada;
  • The attendant was not your spouse and was at least 18 years of age;
  • The amount to be included in your medical expenses for the remuneration paid to an attendant does not exceed $10,000;
  • No portion of the remuneration paid is being used to claim
      • Childcare expenses;
      • Disability supports expenses, where the goods and services concerned enabled the person to carry out employment duties, carry on a business, do research, or attend a designated educational institution or a secondary school;
      • Fees paid for full-time residence in a nursing home (unless a receipt issued by your nursing home shows an amount specifically relating to remuneration paid to an attendant); or
      • Expenses for care and training received in a school, an institution or any other place.
  • A receipt was issued by the recipient of the remuneration. If the recipient is an individual, his or her social insurance number must be indicated on the receipt.

You cannot include amounts paid for the services of an attendant in your medical expenses if you or your spouse is entitled to include the amounts in the calculation of the tax credit for home-support services for seniors.


Where do I claim this?

Follow these steps in H&R Block’s tax software to claim medical expenses for yourself and your spouse or common-law partner on your 2015 tax return:

  1. Click the PREPARE tab.
  2. Click the OTHER icon. You will find yourself here:
  3. Under the MEDICAL & RELATED DISABILITY CARE section, click the checkbox labelled Medical expenses.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Continue.

When you arrive at the page for Medical expenses, enter your information in the software.

Follow these steps in H&R Block’s tax software to claim medical expenses for a dependant on your 2015 tax return:

Important: Before you begin, you must make sure that you have told us about your dependants. To do this:

  1. Click the HOME tab.
  2. Click the ABOUT YOUR DEPENDANTS link. Enter all the required information about your dependants.

Note: If you want to enter more than one dependant, click the +Add Another Dependant button on your screen.

Once you have told us about your dependants, follow these steps to claim medical expenses for your dependant:

  1. Click the name of your dependant on the left-hand navigation panel. You will find yourself here:
  2. Under the EXPENSES section, click the checkbox labelled Medical expenses.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Continue.

When you arrive at the page for Medical expenses, enter your information into the tax software.


Where can I learn more?