What medical expenses can I claim on my taxes in Canada?

By: Updated: February 4, 2021

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

Medical expenses can be claimed on your tax return through the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC). 

The Medical Expense Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit (cannot bring your taxes owed above 0) which is calculated by taking the lesser of 3% of your net income or $2,397.

With the lesser of the 2 numbers, you subtract it from your eligible medical expenses and multiply the resulting number by the lowest marginal tax rate of your province + federal. This gives you your Medical Expense Tax Credit amount.

You might need to know what is eligible before you start crunching numbers. 

Read through this article to get an idea of some eligible medical expenses for the tax credit:

Want to find our your personal METC amount? Try our Medical Expense Tax Credit Calculator.

Here are some eligible, commonly claimed medical expenses for tax purposes:

1. Prescription Drugs

Must be prescribed by a qualified medical practitioner. Additionally, there must be records from a pharmacist. With the exception of Vitamin B12, you cannot claim over-the-counter medications (even if prescribed).

2. Dental Services

Cosmetic procedures are not covered/eligible.

3. Prescription Eyeglasses and/or contacts

4. Air conditioner - prescription required

The lesser of $1,000 or 50% of the air conditioner cost. In order to claim this expense, you must have a severe, related condition.  

5. Travel Expenses

If you traveled less than 40 km (one way), than it cannot be claimed.

If you traveled between 40 km and 80 km (one way), you can claim travel expenses under the condition that:

  • You took a reasonably direct travel route
  • There were no equivalent medical services available that are closer to your home
  • There was a reasonable need to travel to those medical services

If didn’t travel alone, make sure you get a written note from a certified medical practitioner in order to claim travel attendant expenses.

Additionally, any accommodation, meal, and parking expenses relating to your travel may be claimed. Be sure to keep receipts and keep a note of why (if you choose the detailed claims method).

There are two ways to claim meal and vehicle expenses related to your medical travel. See this article on CRA Medical Travel Expenses

If you traveled 80 km or more (one way), you can claim travel expenses under the conditions as listed above. The same rules apply as above. If you want to claim accommodation expenses, be sure to keep all receipts to prove that accommodation was necessary based on distance traveled and medical condition(s).

Travel outside of Canada is also eligible as long as the previously stated conditions above are true.

6. Wheelchairs

Prescription or certificate not necessary.

7. Water filter, cleaner, or purifier

Prescription or certificate not necessary.

Only eligible for those who must overcome a severe, related condition

8. Medical Services provided outside of Canada

Both amounts paid to a qualified medical practitioner and a public or licensed private hospital are eligible.  

9. Crutches

Prescription or certificate not necessary.

8. Nursing Home 

Note: if an attendant is hired privately, they will be considered an employee.

For more on the specifics of what qualifies as attendant care.

Want to see all eligible expenses for the Medical Expense Tax Credit? View the complete list from CRA.

Do you own an incorporated business?

You can turn after-tax, personal medical expenses into before-tax, business deductions through a Health Spending Account. This can equate to thousands in tax savings. To learn more, download our FREE Beginner’s Guide to a Health Spending Account:

Beginner's Guide to Health Spending Accounts

Note: A Health Spending Account cannot be used with the METC because that would be "double-dipping" or getting compensation twice. If you are using an HSA, then you are already eliminating the taxes on your medical expenses.

Related Reading:

Discover the differences: Medical Expense Tax Credit vs Health Spending Account. How it all works?


Write off 100% of your medical expenses

Are you an incorporated business owner with no employees? Learn how to use a Health Spending Account to pay for your medical expenses through your corporation: 

Download the HSA Guide for Incorporated Individuals

Do you own a corporation with employees? Discover a tax deductible health and dental plan that has no premiums:

Download the HSA Guide for a Business with Staff

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