Draft Legislative Proposals on GST Issues

As mentioned last week, tax measures to be implemented from Budget 2008 include numerous changes relating to the application of the GST/HST. These include a number of amendments of GST and HST with respect to the following:

Training for individuals with autism and other disabilities ñ Effective February 26, 2008 training that is specifically designed for individuals coping with autism or other disabilities will qualify for exemption from GST/HST. The exemption will be expanded to include training if supplied by a government; the cost of the training is reimbursed under a government program (partially or fully) or by a health professional, who in the course of a professional client relationship and is GST/HST exempt, identifies the program as a means of dealing with the disorder.

Prescription drugs ñ The budget proposes to zero rate drug supplies to final consumers when prescribed by a health professional and is effective for supplies made after February 26, 2008.

Medical and assistive devices ñ A number of medical and assistive devices are zero rated, and Budget 2008 has added four new categories to the zero rated list as follows: items for neuromuscular stimulation or standing therapy devices that are supplied on a written order by a medical practitioner; chairs designed for use by individuals with disabilities when supplied on a written order of a medical practitioner; chest wall oscillation systems used in airway clearance therapy and specially trained service animals used to assist an individual with a disability or impairment.

Nursing services - Effective February 26, 2008 nursing services provided to individuals will be exempt from GST/HST regardless of where provided (i.e. health care facility or the individual's home). This would apply to services administered by a registered nurse, a registered nursing assistant, a licensed or registered practical nurse, or a registered psychiatric nurse, so long as the service is provided within a nurse-patient relationship.

Treatment of Long-Term Residential Care Facilities ñ The application of GST/HST on these facilities will be clarified to ensure that they remain eligible for the New Residential Rental Property GST Rebate and the GST/HST exemption afforded to residential leases and sales of used residential rental buildings.