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Ottawa Looking to Make Counselling, Psychotherapy Exepmpt from Sales Tax

The Fall Economic Statement (FES) includes a plan by the federal government to exempt counselling and psychotherapy from the GST and HST. This initiative aligns these mental health services with other exempted health care providers such as dentists, optometrists, and midwives. Additionally, health care services covered by provincial plans are also exempt.

The government acknowledges that millions of Canadians utilize mental health services but recognizes the financial burden associated with these services. This proposal, prompted by the increased focus on mental health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to underscore the integral role of mental health care within the broader spectrum of health care.

Hourly appointments with counselors often surpass $100, and costs escalate with specialized services, such as those provided by psychologists. The proposed policy is part of a comprehensive set of measures designed to enhance affordability for the middle class, as outlined in the FES.

The projected cost of this exemption is estimated at $10 million annually. If approved, the exemption is slated to commence in the 2024-25 fiscal year as part of the FES. Implementation of this tax measure would necessitate legislative changes and would become effective upon receiving royal assent.

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