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e-4662 (Taxation)

Initiated by Wendy Thienes from Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Minister of Finance

  • Massage therapy is not recognized in the list of professional services rendered by health practitioners in the Excise Tax Act;
  • Canadians are charged HST/GST on massage therapy services;
  • HST/GST fees create an impression of inequality between massage therapists and other health professionals; and
  • Removal of HST/GST on massage therapy services would improve the accessibility and affordability of massage therapy services for Canadians.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Finance to:
1. include the practice of massage therapy in the definition of practitioner within Schedule V of Part II of the Excise Tax Act;
2. add massage therapy services to the list of professional services rendered by practitioners under section 7 of Part II, Schedule V of the Excise Tax Act; and
3. exempt massage therapy services in Canada from HST/GST under the Excise Tax Act.

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Chrystia Freeland

The Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) applies to a broad base of goods and services with only limited exceptions, which include basic groceries, residential rents, certain medical devices, prescription drugs and basic health care services. Applying the GST/HST to a broad base of goods and services makes the tax system more efficient and simpler, and helps keep the tax rate lower.

The policy underlying the GST/HST treatment of the health care sector is that basic health care services are tax-exempt. In determining what constitutes a basic health care service, the approach that the Government of Canada has taken is to refer to the provinces and territories, given their major role in delivering health care. In this regard, if a service is covered by the public health insurance program in a given province or territory, the GST/HST legislation exempts the service in that province or territory.

In addition, certain criteria have been developed for deciding whether services of recognized health practitioners should be tax-exempt in all provinces and territories. Under these criteria:

  • if a service is covered by the public health insurance program of two or more provinces or territories, it may be exempted in all provinces and territories; and
  • if a profession is regulated as a health profession by at least five provinces or territories, the services of that profession may be exempted in all provinces and territories.

Health care services are not automatically added to the list of exempt health care services. A formal request to exempt the service must first be made to the Minister of Finance by the health profession providing the service. The Department of Finance Canada will then review the request to see whether the health profession meets the exemption criteria. If the exemption criteria are met, the Department will then consult with the relevant provincial and territorial associations of the profession to ensure that there is widespread support for the GST/HST exemption.

It is the government’s understanding that massage therapy is now regulated in five provinces and a formal request to exempt these services has been received. The government is currently reviewing the request.

The government is continually reviewing the tax system to ensure it is both effective and efficient and will continue to do so.

Open for signature
December 11, 2023, at 2:04 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
April 9, 2024, at 2:04 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Brad Vis (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
April 18, 2024 (Petition No. 441-02381)
Government response tabled
May 30, 2024
Photo - Brad Vis
Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon
Conservative Caucus
British Columbia