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Disability Tax Credit: CASLPA Supports Hearing Amendment

Ottawa, October 5, 2010 - The Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA) is pleased to announce its support for Peter Julian's (MP for New-Westminster Burnaby) private members' bill c-577, tabled earlier today. The bill seeks to amend the Income Tax Act relative to hearing impairment; a change that seeks to ensure all eligible individuals with hearing disabilities have fair access to the disability tax credit.

Disability Tax Credit"My bill would redefine "quiet setting" to be the normal setting for situations a person with hearing impairment would find herself in as she goes about her life during a normal day; that is to say, not in the office of a physician or an audiologist," said Julian. "It is unreasonable to expect that an individual will always operate in a quiet setting in real life."

Under the current criteria for the disability tax credit, a person qualifies as markedly restricted in hearing if he or she is "unable to hear or takes an inordinate amount of time to hear so as to understand another person familiar with [him or her] in a quiet setting, even with the use of appropriate devices." A legal decision in Barber vs. The Queen determined that "quiet setting" must refer to a normal, day-to-day setting for the particular individual. CASLPA president Gillian Barnes explains that "the use of quiet setting is ambiguous and the current criteria and terminology are causing a great deal of uncertainty for our member audiologists. Dr. Chantal Kealey, audiologist and CASLPA director of audiology states that this causes the rules to be applied inconsistently and results in some patients being denied a tax credit they are entitled to receive."

CASLPA is part of the National Working Group on the Disability Tax Credit. Along with the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, the Canadian Academy of Audiology and VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children, this group continues to work together to advocate for improvements to the eligibility criteria and terminology associated with the disability tax credit.

With more than 5,500 members, CASLPA is the only national body that supports and represents the professional needs of speech-language pathologists, audiologists and supportive personnel inclusively within one organization. Through this support, CASLPA champions the needs of people with hearing and communication disorders. Visit CASLPA at www.caslpa.ca or learn more at www.speechandhearing.ca.

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