Congratulations to Stephen Harper and the Conservatives for adding fitness to the Canadian Election platform. Naturally I’m in full support of it…but wish that our politicians could see past the ends of their polls and recognize the potential they have in their hands to make a real commitment.
Here is part of the story from the Toronto Star. Click here for the article.
Tax filers get a 15 percent break with the credit, meaning that those claiming the full $500 would get a $75 break. Officials say the credit would apply to sports league registrations and gym memberships, though an expert panel would be convened to decide all the specific activities that would apply for tax relief.
There is a cost of this program…it’s estimated to be about $275 million for the adults and about 30 million for the expansion of the kids program.
Sad news…the new adult credit won’t be instituted until 2015-16 when the federal books are balanced and the expansion of the children’s credit will come in ‘sometime over the next four years’.
My suggestion to the politicians…THINK. Think about the benefits of getting Canadians active, which I am sure this credit will help allow some to do. Think about a healthier country. Think about the spin-off benefits:
- Mobility challenges in aged population reduced
- Heart disease reduced
- Cardio-vascular problems reduced
- Stroke reduced
- Diabetes reduced
- Obesity reduced
- Mental focus increased
- Healthy diets increased
- Healthy lifestyle increased
All of the above will translate into:
- Decrease demand on health care system
- Decrease demand on insurance benefit payouts
- Decrease demand on social medical care system
- Increase employment opportunities in fitness industry
- Increase worker productivity
- Increase tax dollars
I’m not a politician or a financial professional…but anyone can figure out a healthier society will end up creating tax revenue for the country.
So please Mr. Harper, modify your tax credit plan to start immediately. The benefits are obvious and the money that it will cost over the next few years will pay off exponentially when there is less financial demand on health care and more money coming into the public purse!
There is no guarantee that the public will ever start taking care of themselves even with a financial incentive to do so. But there sure is a guarantee that the cost of everything being fat and unhealthy imposes on society will continue to rise if something isn’t done about it.
Want some good reading?
The Canadian Obesity Epidemic 85-98 http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/166/8/1039
Regional Statistics of Obesity (Statistics Canada) http://www.statcan.gc.ca/studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2006/9280-eng.pdf
Overweight and obesity in Canadian adolescents and their associations with dietary habits and physical activity patterns http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(04)00058-8/abstract