Peterborough—Kawartha MP Michelle Ferreri seconded a private member’s bill introduced in Parliament Thursday proposing to remove the tax on mental health counselling and psychotherapy in Canada.
The bill is from Cumberland-Colchester MP Dr. Stephen Ellis, who was a family physician in Truro, N.S. for 22 years before he was elected to Parliament in 2021.
MP Ellis is the opposition Conservatives’ health critic. Ferreri is the critic for issues related to families and children.
Ellis’s Bill C-323 points out that counselling therapists and psychotherapists are the only regulated mental health service providers in Canada who must remit tax on their work.
The bill aims to “fix this imbalance,” according to a press release from Ferreri’s office, by dropping the GST and HST on these services.
Health Canada says nearly 25 per cent of Canadians older than 15 say they have “unmet mental health needs,” according to the release.
“Bill C-323 would remove the federal tax from those services to relieve some of the financial burden placed on them (Canadians) by the Liberal government,” the release states.
Ferreri has said that mental health is her top concern — that she got into politics to advocate for improved access to mental health care.
She recently told Peterborough city council at a meeting that the federal Liberal government had promised a $4.5-billion transfer in mental health care funding to provinces in the last federal election — money that she said has yet to come.
“While we wait for the Liberals to follow through on their promised $4.5 billion in a Canada mental health transfer, Conservatives are providing tangible solutions to ease the burden of cost for Canadians accessing mental health supports,” Ferreri states in her release.
Ellis is quoted in the same release as saying that “life is becoming unbearable for Canadians,” after eight years of Trudeau’s Liberal government.
“From the crushing effects of inflation and the out-of-control cost of living increases, Canadians are hurting,” Ellis states. “But instead of providing hope, the Liberal government is pushing Canadians struggling with mental health toward medically assisted death.”
He refers to the federal law that allows eligible adult Canadians to request medical assistance in dying (MAiD) and how the government has been considering expansion of MAiD eligibility for people with mental illness.
Although the government has been considering expert testimony for the last two years on the matter, and was prepared to allow a mental illness provision for MAiD as soon as this month, the federal government is pushing back the deadline a further year.