Please note that the following document, although believed to be correct at the time of issue, may not represent the current position of the CRA. Prenez note que ce document, bien qu'exact au moment émis, peut ne pas représenter la position actuelle de l'ARC.

Principal Issues: Whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy provided by a respiratory therapist qualifies as an eligible medical expense.

Position: Question of fact, but likely yes.

Reasons: It must be a medical service provided by a medical practitioner.

Author: Ratnasingham, Sharmini

Section: 118.2(2)(a)

S. Ratnasingham

September 5, 2014


Re: Medical Expense Tax Credit – Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

This is in response to your letter of April 1, 2014, asking whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an eligible medical expense for purposes of the medical expense tax credit (“METC”) under section 118.2 of the Income Tax Act (the “Act”).

You are writing on behalf of your client who has a prescription from her family physician for hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment (the “Treatment”) for a medical condition. You have indicated that the Treatment was administered by a registered respiratory therapist in a private clinic in Alberta.


This technical interpretation provides general comments about the provisions of the Act and related legislation (where referenced). It does not confirm the income tax treatment of a particular situation involving a specific taxpayer but is intended to assist you in making that determination. The income tax treatment of particular transactions proposed by a specific taxpayer will only be confirmed by this Directorate in the context of an advance income tax ruling request submitted in the manner set out in Information Circular IC 70-6R5, Advance Income Tax Rulings.

The Canada Revenue Agency’s general views regarding the METC can be found in the Income Tax Folio S1-F1-C1, Medical Expense Tax Credit (Folio) available on our website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca.

According to paragraph 118.2(2)(a) of the Act, an amount paid to a medical practitioner, dentist or nurse, or a public or licensed private hospital is considered to qualify as a medical expense of an individual if it is paid in respect of a medical or dental service. An amount paid to a clinic in respect of a medical service could also qualify as a medical expense eligible for the METC where the service is provided by a medical practitioner who is an employee or partner at the clinic.

Generally, a “medical service” is a service relating to the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease performed by a medical practitioner acting within the scope of his or her professional training. In our view, the Treatment could be considered a medical service when it is offered to an individual for therapeutic or rehabilitative reasons.

A “medical practitioner” is an individual who is authorized to practise as such according to the laws of the jurisdiction in which the services are rendered. A list of authorized medical practitioners by province and territory is available on our website. Based on our review, it appears that a respiratory therapist is authorized to practise in the province of Alberta and would be considered a medical practitioner for the purpose of the METC.

You also mentioned that your client has a health spending plan. As explained in paragraphs 1.15 and 1.16 of the Folio, generally, an amount for which an individual or certain other persons are entitled to be reimbursed is not eligible as a medical expense unless it is included in income.

We trust our comments will be of assistance.

Yours truly,

Pamela Burnley, CPA, CA
Tax Credits and Ministerial Issues
Business and Employment Division
Income Tax Rulings Directorate

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