Yes, this amendment is important. It would basically have individuals with type 1 diabetes automatically qualify for the disability tax credit by removing the 14 hours a week for life-sustaining therapy. This is a no-brainer. This reduces the administrative burden on Canadians and allows their doctors to focus on their treatment, rather than completing confusing and arbitrary forms. This amendment is endorsed by both Diabetes Canada and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Further, the intent for the amendment is based on a recommendation by Canada Revenue Agency's own disability advisory committee, which the government rejected.
By moving this amendment, we ensure fairness not only for Canadians with type 1 diabetes in my province of New Brunswick, but from coast to coast to coast. This is a rare opportunity for us in this committee to immediately improve the lives of 300,000 Canadians on a bipartisan basis.
Colleagues, it is the right thing to do, and I welcome your support.
I also wanted to read something. I had support from the JDRF, as well as Diabetes Canada. I'll quote from Diabetes Canada and Mr. Andrew Jones, executive director, government affairs, policy and advocacy. He said:
We find that the process for eligibility is full of administrative burdens. Patients are required to fill out lengthy, lengthy forms and communicate with their health care professional. Our major concern is around the [14-hour threshold] per week. [That's arbitrary] what counts towards this 14-hour threshold.... As I said in my opening statement, we maintain that individuals who are on insulin therapy—life-saving insulin therapy—ought to just simply qualify for the disability tax credit.
I have another quote here from JDRF Canada. We were fortunate enough to have them appear before the committee on two occasions. Dr. Alanna Weisman, endocrinologist, speaking about those suffering with type 1 diabetes, had this to say:
...If they were to not administer insulin, after a very short period of time they would be at risk of having dangerously high blood sugars, potentially leading to avoidable hospitalizations, coma or even death.
Our standard of care is to deliver insulin, as we call it, “intensively”, which means either through multiple injections per day with each of those injections needing to be thought about and calculated, or through an insulin pump, which again is still being delivered on a 24-hour basis, still with multiple calculations and adjustments that need to be made each day. Insulin is absolutely a 24-hour, life-sustaining therapy.
Also note that in type 1 diabetes, there are no other medications approved for treatment. We have one medication, and that is insulin.
I move this amendment in clause-by-clause, and I hope that all members of the committee will support it.