Are Medical Expenses Tax Deductible in Canada?

By Krista DeKuyper | January 15, 2024 | General Health

Medical expenses can be a significant burden on individuals and families, especially those dealing with chronic illnesses or unexpected healthcare costs. In Canada, there is a tax credit available that can help individuals offset some of these expenses. In this article, we will explore the medical expense tax credit in Canada, what expenses are covered, and how it can be used to reduce your taxes and answer the question are medical expenses tax deductible in Canada?

What is the Medical Expense Tax Credit?

The medical expense tax credit is a tax benefit provided by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to help individuals and families with the cost of medical expenses. It allows taxpayers to claim a credit for eligible medical expenses incurred during the taxation year. This credit is non-refundable, meaning it can only reduce the amount of taxes owed, and cannot result in a tax refund if the credit exceeds the tax liability.

To be eligible for the medical expense tax credit, the expenses must meet certain criteria set by the CRA. These criteria include being expenses related to medical care provided to the taxpayer, their spouse or common-law partner, or dependent children under the age of 18. The expenses must also be supported by official receipts and incurred within a 12-month period ending in the tax year being claimed. Additionally, you can only claim part of an eligible expense for which you have not been or will not be reimbursed.

Medical Expenses Covered Under the CRA

The CRA allows a wide range of medical expenses to be claimed for the tax credit. Some common examples include:

  1. Attendant care and care in a facility
  2. Care, treatment and training
  3. Devices, equipment and supplies
  4. Gluten-free food products
  5. Prescribed drugs, medications and other substances
  6. Service animals
  7. Services and fees (like ambulances, hospital services, laboratory services etc)
  8. Travel expenses

It is important to note that expenses reimbursed by insurance or other sources are not eligible for the tax credit.

Expenses That Are Not Eligible for Tax Deduction

While the list of eligible medical expenses is extensive, there are certain expenses that are not eligible for the tax credit. These include:

  1. Cosmetic procedures
  2. Health club or gym memberships
  3. Blood pressure monitors
  4. Birth control devices
  5. Over the counter medications, supplements, vitamins
  6. Organic food and more

Can You Get a Credit for Unreimbursed Medical Expenses?

No. The medical expense tax credit is non-refundable meaning you will not get money back. Rather the credit will reduce the amount of taxe you owe.

Can You Use the Medical Expense Tax Credit to Reduce Your Taxes?

Yes. The medical expense tax credit can be used to reduce your taxes payable. Once you have calculated your total eligible medical expenses for the year, you can claim them on your income tax return. The credit is applied to reduce the amount of tax you owe, potentially resulting in a lower overall tax liability.

However, it is important to note that the medical expense tax credit is a non-refundable credit. This means that if the credit exceeds your tax liability, you will not receive a refund for the difference. It can only be used to reduce the amount of tax owed.

Health Insurance

If you’re looking to spend less on out of pocket medical expenses, look into health insurance. Health insurance provides a financial safety net, helping individuals and families manage the costs associated with medical care. By having a comprehensive health insurance plan in place, individuals can benefit from negotiated rates with healthcare providers, and in many cases, receive direct coverage for a portion of their medical expenses. This can include coverage for doctor’s visits, hospital stays, prescription medications, and various medical procedures. By leveraging their health insurance, individuals can significantly reduce their out-of-pocket expenses and ease the financial strain of medical treatments. It is essential to review the terms and coverage details of the insurance policy to ensure that the specific medical expenses are covered and to understand any deductibles, co-pays, or limitations that may apply.


In conclusion, medical expenses can be tax deductible in Canada through the medical expense tax credit. This credit allows individuals and families to claim eligible medical expenses and reduce their overall tax liability. By understanding what expenses are covered and keeping proper documentation, individuals can take advantage of this tax benefit and alleviate some of the financial burden associated with medical care. It is always recommended to consult with a tax professional or the CRA for specific guidance and advice regarding your personal situation.

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