Canada's Fitness Tax Credit Aids Wealthy

EDMONTON, Alberta, Aug. 6 (UPI) — The wealthy benefit most from the Canadian Children’s Fitness Tax Credit — a tax credit to increase physical activity levels of children — researchers say.

Since 2007, the Canadian government has allowed a non-refundable tax credit based on eligible fitness expenses paid by parents to register a child in a prescribed program of physical activity.

A survey by researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton indicates lower income families used the $500 tax credit less than wealthier families. The researchers suggest the credit did not help lower income families who could not afford registration fees and those not qualifying for minimum income levels.

The survey, published in Public Health, indicates 15.6 percent of the parents say the tax credit had increased their children’s participation in physical activity programs.

John Spence and colleagues conducted the Internet-based panel survey of 2,135 Canadians — 1,004 of whom were parents of children ages 2-18 — in March 2009. Of the parents, 54.4 percent had a child enrolled in an organized physical activity program, 55.5 percent were aware of the program, 26.1 percent made claims for the tax credit in 2007 and 33.1 percent planned to do so.

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