With physicians across Canada grappling with the financial implications of COVID-19, today the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) presented a brief to the federal minister of finance outlining these challenges and proposing federal measures to mitigate the impact on physicians and other health care workers.
Recognizing that some physicians are ineligible for federal support programs, the CMA is asking the federal government to expand the eligibility criteria to include hospital-based specialists, physician practices that operate as a small business but may not meet technical criteria, and physicians delivering locum medical care.
The CMA is also recommending new federal measures to address the unique risks and additional costs borne by physicians and other front-line health care workers during the pandemic. These include a new income tax deduction to recognize these risks, a doubling of the child-care deduction and a temporary emergency tax deduction for those who’ve had to seek alternative accommodations to self-isolate.
The federal recommendations put forward by the CMA were informed by an economic impact study — conducted by tax experts MNP — assessing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on physician practices in Canada. The study found the overwhelming majority of Canada’s physician practices would be financially impacted by COVID-19, with the indefinite postponement of numerous medical procedures, coupled with restrictions related to physical distancing, having a negative effect on physician practices.
In the coming weeks, representatives from the CMA will be meeting with key federal representatives to discuss these recommendations in detail.