The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has denied disability tax rebates to hundreds of Type 1 diabetes patients through changes in the eligibility criteria, claims advocacy groups.
According to media reports, Diabetes Canada and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), at a press conference in Ottawa on Monday, released internal CRA emails, secured through the access to information right, to support the allegation.
The eligibility conditions, said DC chief science officer Jan Hux, were changed in May this year to deny tax rebate to diabetics needing less than 14 hours of insulin treatment a week.
The Monday press conference capped DC’s month-long campaign to raise awareness about diabetes, support the sufferers and bring about policy shift to eradicate diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes, according to Dr. Harinder Bajaj, a retired WHO doctor from Texas, “is a 24-7 chronic, progressive, autoimmune disorder that makes patients insulin-dependent and prone to heart and kidney failure, blindness and premature death.” Type 2 diabetes, according to experts, is preventable through lifestyle changes.
November is recognized in Canada and the U.S. as Diabetes Awareness Month and Nov. 14, the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting, a pioneer of insulin, is marked as the World Diabetes Day (WDD), the campaign reaching a global audience of one billion people.
“The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the political and public spotlight,” Hux said.
Diabetes is a silent epidemic in Canada with 11 million people living with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Canada’s first woman astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar was the keynote speaker on WDD, as reported in saultthisweek.com.
She was invited to talk about the challenges she faced in space and how she managed to find solace in the dark, something all too familiar for those living with diabetes and experiencing nocturnal hypoglycemia.
On Nov. 25, DC organized a five-hour interactive educational event in Brampton on the link between diabetes and stroke. The registered charity trust is among those calling for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to “save lives and reduce health care costs.”
The month opened with DC celebrating the educators who, a press release said, “provide hands-on support every day to people with diabetes.”
The previous day, sugar consumption in Canada was the focus of a DC media conference in Toronto, according to a report in Canada News Wire. “Diabetes Canada has been raising the alarm about the direct connection between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and Type 2 diabetes risk,”
Hux said as she underlined the organization’s aim to have 10 million kilograms of sugar removed from the Canadian diet by 2020. In a year–between 2015-16–Hux claimed that DC had been instrumental in reducing sugar consumption by 2.5 million kilograms.
Medical experts worldwide have expressed concerns about the high sugar consumption and diabetes, especially among children.
According to a report by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, quoted in the Toronto Star earlier this year, one in every three Canadian children is grappling with obesity.
“Given experts’ prediction that today’s children may be the first generation to have poorer health and shorter lifespan than their parents we need to hold, ” Diego Marchese, executive president of Heart and Stroke Foundation wrote in the report. The Foundation called for a legislation to ban food and drink ads to fight childhood obesity.
“Juvenile diabetes was unheard of in our time but today it is touching epidemic proportions,” said Dr. Bhupinder Singh, a professor of child psychology at Bhopal University in the state Madhya Pradesh, India.
“They are unable to cope with a new diet plan and can’t go out with other children. The reduced interaction makes them extreme introverts and leads to personality problems in adult life as well.”
His tip for parents of diabetic children is to eat what the child eats because that makes the child feel normal. These little gestures by the family, he said, “go a long way in creating a positive and psychologically healing environment for the child.”