If your child has a disability, which has been recognized by the CRA (with a Disability Tax Credit), there are things you can claim along with the DTC. If your child needs to attend a specialized school or needs tutoring, due to their disability. School fees, in specific, can be a considerable expense.

The rules continue to evolve, so here are the latest rules (May 2022)

School for persons with a mental or physical impairment – an appropriately qualified person, such as a medical practitioner or the principal or head of the school, must certify in writing that the equipment, facilities, or staff specially provided by that school are needed because of the person’s physical or mental impairment.

Details of Medical Expense CRA April 2022

I have written about what to include when you appeal for these expenses. It seems now a letter from the school would be good to add to your submission. Remember, the more details explaining how the program helps the child’s disability, the better. This makes it easier it is for the CRA to understand your claim.

A simple letter saying, “I think my kids’ school fees are a medical expense,” will not work with the CRA. It would help if you had detailed explanations of why the school directly helps your child.

  • The RDSP Page is the Overview of all articles I have written about the RDSP (including DTC and other areas).
    • RDSP : Laying the Ground Work (first things first)
      What needs to be done BEFORE you can apply for a Registered Disability Savings Plan? A major aspect of this is the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), make sure you click on this page to get started.
    • RDSP : Working with The Account
      Now that you have succeeded in getting your Disability Tax Credit (DTC) you need to open an RDSP account with a bank or such, but how is that done? It is not as easy as you might think. This page outlines many of the issues that have arisen for my family working with an RDSP account.
    • Disability Tax Related Topics
      Thanks for my RDSP and DTC work I then had to learn a great deal about the tax implications of having a disabled child.
    • Autism Specific Articles
      Being the proud Father of a child on the Autism Spectrum I also ended up writing a great deal about Autism specific things as well.


The Tuition Circle

Sunday, my wife and I and my two daughters (who are still at University) sat at the kitchen table to tackle the odious task of applying for OSAP grants and paying for tuition for the coming school term.

This whole thing took about 1 and a half hours and at the end of it we had to:

This is not very cheap

This is not very cheap

  • Reference the school(s) web site(s) to find the fees that need to be paid (and evidently library fines too). At the end of it, we actually had to check on 3 different University sites (one of my daughters is taking a course that includes courses from two different schools). This was just to get Tuition, if you have a child in residence you may have to check in different parts of the web site to find all the fees.
  • Have copies of mine and my wife’s latest tax forms for the OSAP application.
  • Know how much your children have made this year as income.
  • Balances of any RESPs that you have set up for your kids
  • Have all the printers for all 3 computers you are using because you are going to be printing out forms for the OSAP application (no kidding my kids didn’t have the house printer set up).
  • A pen to sign all the forms for your kids.
  • The OSAP forms then have to be dropped off at school in some fashion or another, and if this is the first time your child is applying, they will either need a cheque or something form the bank for where the Grant/Loan will be put (or you can say have the money go directly to the school which cuts out this part of the fun and games)

At the end of this I had to pay the tuition but even that isn’t as easy as you think because one school allows me to pay with my Credit Card (hey I get PC Points from that so I am happy), however two of the other schools only allow me to pay on line with my bank, and in that case I need to know when the Tuition is due, because I am only going to pay that on the day it is due.

All in all, an interesting way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Oh and we haven’t looked at books and such either.


Back to School (Monetary Nightmare)

September used to mean a month of big expenses. When we had 3 kids in University the amount of money spent was astounding. Back to school meant fees, moving costs, rent and many more big expenses. Luckily we had RESPs to help out.

For those of you who are worried about buying pens, pencils, binders and such, allow me to say, “You have no idea of what is coming down the tracks at you”. As your child moves up the academic levels, it all starts getting much more expensive, and it does so at a higher rate than you might guess.

So far this summer we have already paid for:

  • Four months rent on an apartment that no one has lived in. To be fair no one lived in it for 3 months, someone has now moved into it.
  • A new computer for school, because you can’t go to school without one now.
  • Back to school supplies on steroids, allow me to share a photo of the stash so far (this is only for 1 child):
A Back to School Heap: Note the telescope is not part of the haul
  • Tuition for 1 child, however, since she is attending two different schools (effectively), I still have to pay the other school’s fees. That is for one child, then I have the other child’s fees still to pay.
  • A new student orientation weekend, which sounded like fun, but sure wasn’t cheap.
  • Oh and I have paid for a car trip to and from Nova Scotia, and will have to pay for at least two trips to Peterborough in the very near future.
  • Did I mention my son’s tuition costs? No, don’t worry you will hear about that one soon.

Does this sound like me whingeing and moaning? Spot on, is anybody else living through this, or have you lived through it and now are enjoying having disposable income again? Feel free to reply with “suck it up butter cup” as well, I look forward to the “why are you paying for your kids post-secondary education” comments too.

Other Back to School Thoughts?


Summer Time Plans for the Fall?

What are your plans for the fall? Given September is not that far away, do you have a plan?

For many folks September really is just another month, and I hope some time in my life it returns to that state, however if you have children, you know full well that the month of September can actually be one of the biggest outlay months of the year (yes even bigger than December (or January for that matter)).

I used to think that September expenses were out of control when my kids were in elementary school and even high school, but as you all know, once they got to University it was a completely different creature (or problem).

In High School you pay for:

The first few times you go through this, it really feels like a lot of money, but then you hit the University Years where your costs are the above plus:

  • Tuition, if you are Canadian you are looking at $4,000 or so in these costs (every 4 months), if you live in the states, I have no idea how you pay that. Better hope your RESP has enough in it.
  • Books, could be anywhere from $250+ (in Engineering and other areas could be over $750)
  • Living expenses, if they move away from home try for $2500 to $5000 every four months again

Or, maybe not, maybe your kid is paying for it themselves, so maybe September is a wonderful time, because you get to keep your money (anybody out there like that)? Maybe your kid is in a co-op program? Maybe your kid is getting a bunch of grants?

What is your September going to look like? A tsunami of spending, or just another month? Might be time to make plans for the fall .



Happy Civic Holiday Ontario

Yes, even I take holidays (my wife doesn’t believe that, but I do). Happy Civic Holiday Ontario.

Today is the Holiday with No Name in Ontario, but some of the other names I have seen it called:

  • Civic Holiday, boy that shows a lot of imagination, doesn’t it?
  • August Bank Holiday, I like that one because it has a UK feel to it.
  • Colonel By Day, after the chap that helped build Ottawa and the Rideau Canal
  • Simcoe Days, for those living around the lake
  • Aaahh crap, why did I come into the Office, it’s a Holiday! Day, yes I know someone who went into the office for one of these and said those exact words.
  • Only 1 Month ’til School Starts Day! OK, I made that one up but it is true.

Loblaws seems to be open today (as my daughter has a shift working there), so if the stores are open, have at it folks, let the back to school carnage begin!!!

Coat of Arms of Ontario

Ontario’s Coat of Arms, Cool eh?


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