90% rule may be a fixed delusion

July 21, 2022

I finally figured it out.

It’s taken some 20 years to understand why the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) refuses to follow the law when it comes to the determination of eligibility for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) for thousands of Canadians with disabilities.

But better late than never, as the saying goes.

It’s taken a diagnosis of dementia for my 98-year-old mother to understand why the CRA refuses to budge from a position that discriminates against people living with a severe and chronic mental illness as well as those with serious intellectual challenges.

It’s called a “fixed delusion.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, such a delusion is a strongly held false belief even if there is no reason to feel this way.

And there it is: the CRA  may indeed suffer from a “fixed delusion” when interpretating “all or substantially all of the time” as 90%. It may as well be set in stone even though there is no logic to support its spurious claim.

There is not a single iota of proof that the CRA can fall back on to justify its position of such a narrow restrictive guideline designed to deny the DTC to thousands of eligible individuals, many who are markedly restricted in their mental and physical functions even though the disabling symptoms may not always be perceived to be present.

Perhaps, then, there is widespread delusional thinking among the senior bureaucrats who call the shots.

Even the new Form T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate specifies that “all or substantially all” is “generally interpreted as 90% or more of the time.”

And yet the 90% rule has no statutory basis.

The Income Tax Act does not specify a specific percentage for good reason since there is no clear definition of the word “substantial” in any dictionary you might want to check.

My mother’s fixed delusion deals with the fact that her family is stealing from her. There are no compromising thoughts or reasonable explanations. Theft is theft. She is absolutely certain that the missing items have been taken from her apartment when she is not at home. No amount of logic can persuade her otherwise even when the items are found.

Likewise, the CRA, with so many reasons supporting a more elastic interpretation of the “all or substantially all” clause, has not been persuaded to reject a false belief that denies important income supports to eligible Canadians with disabilities.

Surely, there must be some logical explanation why the CRA continues to defy the law by deceiving not only Canadians with disabilities and their health care professionals but also our elected representatives in the federal government.

Or is it similar to a fixed delusion, simply impossible to eradicate after so many years passing off a misconception in the interpretation of the parliamentary and legislative intent of the Income Tax Act?