Canadian Disability Tax Credit: OSTOMY TIPS

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Here in Canada, ostomates often have to pay for ostomy supplies out-of-pocket.

Costs are such a concern that I’ve dedicated an entire post outlining ways that Canadians can save money on ostomy supplies.

But of all the ways to save money, the most important, in my opinion, is the Disability Tax Credit (DTC).

Stuff You Should Know

Since these types of services tend to evolve, the application process may not be exactly as described in this article. Always check the appropriate government website to find out what the latest application process and qualifications are.

Important: If you do not have an ostomy, but have had a prolonged flare due to IBD, you may still be able to qualify for the DTC during the duration of your flare (I did many years ago).

You will probably be charged a fee by your doctor to have their part of the application filled. This shouldn’t be more than $30, but that depends on your doctor’s rates.

Having DTC will also help to qualify you for a Registered disability savings plan (RDSP) from the government. Details HERE. (thanks for the tip, Zee!)

What is Disability Tax Credit?

The DTC is available to all Canadians with a disability as a way to reduce their income taxes. This can often result in a sizeable refund for many of us, but it’s something that you have to apply (and wait) for.

It’s important to note that this is not “disability” as in, you collect money for not being able to work. Rather, it’s to help offset some of the expenses caused by an impairment.


To be eligible for the DTC, the CRA requires you to either be “markedly restricted in at least one of the basic activities of daily living” (listed above) AND it must also be “prolonged, which means the impairment has lasted, or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months” and “is present all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)” (SOURCE)

A few things need to be clarified here. What counts as “markedly restricted” and how long is an “inordinate amount of time” when they ask?

“Markedly Restricted”

The CRA says that “A person is markedly restricted if, all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time), he or she is unable or takes an inordinate amount of time to do one or more of the basic activities of daily living, even with therapy (other than life-sustaining therapy) and the use of appropriate devices and medication.”

If you have an ostomy, then you are markedly restricted 100% of the time (your bag is on 24/7).

“Inordinate amount of time”

The CRA defines this as an activity (listed below) that takes three or more times longer than someone without an impairment. As you’ll see further on, this won’t be difficult to meet for most ostomates.

How to Apply

Applying for DTC is really easy and you can either do it for yourself or for someone in your care.

I’ve seen a few places who offer the service of doing this for you, but they take a big cut of your credit and it’s honestly not hard to do on your own.

  • To get started, you will have to print off Form T2201, which is available HERE.
  • Complete as much as you can from “Part A”, which is basic information about who you are, whether you’re applying on behalf of a partner or dependant, whether you want the CRA to adjust your income tax returns if you’re approved, and your signature.
  • You’ll have to get your doctor to fill out “Part B”, which explains your disability. If you have an ostomy, then you can have your family doctor, surgeon, or gastroenterologist complete those extra parts. If you have other health problems (including IBD) that impair certain aspects of your life, you have the appropriate specialist complete other parts, too.

I would HIGHLY suggest that you make an appointment with your doctor and have them complete the form while you are there. That way, you’re able to answer any questions they may have.

The form has seven areas on which you can list an impairment (clicking on a link will send you to the CRA page for examples):

For my ostomy, we focused on “elimination”. The CRA lists “ostomy appliances” as one example of a device needed to perform proper elimination.

In the elimination category, you need to illustrate that managing your ostomy appliance takes an “inordinate amount of time” (definition above) compared to someone who goes to the bathroom normally.

Keep in mind that many healthy adults tend to have a bowel movement between three times a week and three times a day (SOURCE).  If you have an ileostomy, you may be emptying your bag 10 times a day, plus whatever time it takes to change it and manage leaks.

I had written a log of every time I emptied my bag in a two-week span in order to support my application. I also reminded my doctor that my ostomy is permanent, which satisfies some of the criteria on the form.

In addition, my doctor also wrote down other examples where my ostomy has negatively affected my quality of life.

For these examples, I explained that more planning needs to be made before I do things, including having to do an appliance change before outings or making more frequent stops along the way to a destination to manage my appliance.  These examples need to be related to the “elimination” part of your application and shouldn’t include things outside of this category.

The more your doctor writes the better, but be honest about what you tell them.

It can take a while to get back your approval – weeks to months – so don’t freak out if you don’t get a letter back right away.  If you log into the CRA website you’ll be able to see whether they are processing it, and whether it’s approved well before the time you receive a letter.

Disability Tax Credit approval
My approval has no end date because of my permanent ostomy.

Other Things to Mention on Your Application

  • If you need a spouse or other caretaker to change or empty your appliance, let your doctor know, so it can be written down on the application!
  • How often you get up at night to empty your appliance.
  • Any extra time it takes to manage your urostomy drainage system (or night drainage systems for ileostomates).
  • Time needed to manage damaged skin, hernia, or leaks.
  • Any other impairments with feeding, dressing, walking, etc. (the form will list all applicable conditions).

And remember, the government can backdate payments if you are eligible for the DTC and qualify for earlier years.

What if You’re Denied?

Try again! Anyone who’s applied for anything through the government knows that it may take a few times before the exact same application is approved.

If you continue to get rejected, then I would suggest speaking with your local ostomy association to see what advice they can offer you (their members most likely have applied for DTC).

You might also want to consider a disability tax expert who can likely file for you in the most optimal and efficient way.

For more information on the Disability Tax Credit, please visit the Canada Revenue agency here:

Question: Have you applied for the Disability Tax Credit?

Additional Resources


24 thoughts on “Canadian Disability Tax Credit: OSTOMY TIPS”

  1. Good morning, once approved I know you get the tax credit when you submit your yearly income tax application.

    Do you also get a one time yearly disability cheque?
    Thank you

    • Hi Jeannette,

      The way the Disability Tax Credit works is that the disability amount you’re able to put on your income tax (this changes yearly) will lower your taxable income, often resulting in money back. It’s not a cheque that you get separately.

      There are disability programs which would get you a monthly cheque, but they are quite a bit different, and more difficult to qualify for, compared to the DTC.

      If you are in Ontario, and have a permanent ostomy, you should also be getting grant money every six months.

      You would need to apply to this, but it’s a good amount of money to help cover ostomy supply costs.

      Other provinces have their own programs which might help.

      I have more details about various government grants in this article:

  2. This might be a stupid question, but can I apply to this if I have a regular job and make a good salary? And would they backdate by more than 20 years do you think? I have no idea when the program started. I’ve had my ostomy since I was a child (I am 42 now), so I guess all the extra time, expense, and hassle of an ostomy I just think of as normal, so I feel guilty for applying?

    • Not a stupid question at all – you are completely entitled to it, and it’s NOT affected by your income status (unlike other disability benefits).

      They’d likely only backdate 10 years, but that’s still going to be a significant refund.

      I’d work with a doctor who knows your history, as the paperwork will need to be signed off when applying. And if you are declined, try again. Some people have to re-apply several times before they are approved.

      If you don’t have time to go through the process, there are organizations who will do all the leg work for a fee. You’d still be getting money back, and you’ll be able to use the DTC going forward.

      Good luck!

    • That’s great news! I suspect the amount you get will have to do with your previous tax returns and how much the tax credit affects them. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get back thousands, but don’t get too excited until it happens. The CRA website should allow you to see what the adjustments are before you get a refund. Good luck!

    • Hey UCtoOstomy,

      I basically did a spreadsheet with the date on each row (two weeks’ worth) and in the columns, I entered a time when I emptied my appliance. I then made dure to average how many times I emptied my applies for each date, then a total average for the two weeks.

      I provided that to my doctor, although I’m sure just a total number of times would have sufficed. I found it easier to keep track of things using a spreadsheet.

  3. I have found that they the government have almost merged the two CPPD and the DTC with the same qualifying criteria. DTC use to be much easier to get based more on the fact that yes, you indeed have been diagnosed with such and such. With the CPPD, you did not just qualify because you have a long term disability but had to indicated “why" you were unable to work. (What health issues prevent you from working.) Although having a new ileostomy as part of my health issues, it does not prevent me from working but most definitely affects my living 100% of the time. What I also don’t understand is this business of needing to renew your DTC when you clearly have permanent disabilities. I have an autoimmune disease that affects many parts of my body… and not all the same parts on any given day. Today, I may have a great deal of difficulty putting on my clothes, tomorrow, I may not be able to use my hands as they hurt so bad, and the next day, I may not be able to move due to dizziness and nausea. Go figure. Being that I have an ongoing disease that is most likely never going to improve, why would I ever need to get pre-approved. Oh please, let the miracles happen. I would be so very grateful to have my health back again if given the choice.

    • Hi Wanda,

      I hope that for everyone’s sake, they keep the two separate! DTC isn’t about not being able to work (many of us still can and do), but about our daily quality of life and the things we still have to go through because of chronic illness or otherwise.

      And having the reaffirm my permanent disability is insulting. I get letters for my ostomy grant payments every once in a while for me to confirm that I still have a permanent ostomy – I mean, what do they think permanent means?


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