Coin - 3 Tips for Finding Medical Supply Funding

3 Tips for Finding Medical Supply Funding

by Karen Laforet RN, MClSc-WH, CNHC(c), VA-BC, CVAA(C)

Dealing with a chronic condition such as incontinence can be financially taxing. Did you know there are provincial and federal programs available to help offset the costs of managing your health? Here are 3 Tips for finding funding outside your third-party insurance plans.

  1. The Disability Tax Credit

The disability tax credit (DTC) is a non-refundable federal tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting persons reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay. An individual may claim the disability amount once they are eligible for the DTC. This amount includes a supplement for persons under 18 years of age at the end of the year.

The purpose of the DTC is to provide for greater tax equity by allowing some relief for disability costs, since these are unavoidable additional expenses that other taxpayers don’t have to face.

Being eligible for the DTC can open the door to other federal, provincial, or territorial programs such as the registered disability savings plan, the working income tax benefit, and the child disability benefit

Check here for more information: Disability Tax Credit

Ostomy Canada has prepared a resource guide for a successful submission:

  1. Registered Disability Savings Plan

A registered disability savings plan (RDSP) is a savings plan intended to help parents and others save for the long-term financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC).

Consider opening a RDSP if you have a long-term disability and are:

  1. Eligible for the Disability Tax Credit
  2. Under 60 years of age.
  3. Canadian resident with a Social Insurance Number
  4. Interested in long-term savings.

A person (or eligible others) may contribute any amount each year with a lifetime maximum of $200,000.

Need more information? Registered Disability Savings Plan

  1. Provincial Disability Programs

Each provincial health care plan provides funds for equipment and supplies. The following provides an overview along with a link for further information. 


Alberta’s "Aid to Daily Living" (AADL) is a cost-share program. Albertans pay 25% of the benefit cost to a maximum of $500 per individual or family each year. Low-income Albertans and those receiving income assistance do not need to pay the cost-sharing portion.

A clinical assessment by a health care professional is required for eligibility. The health professional determines what equipment and supplies you may get through the AADL program.

Program details: Alberta's Aid to Daily Living (AADL)

British Columbia:

The "Fair PharmaCare Program" in BC is based on family income. Family is defined as, single person, married or common-law couple, single person with dependent children or couple with dependent children.

Pharma Care pays 70% after deductions with the amount of deductions based on a family's annual income.

Program details: Fair PharmaCare Plan


Manitoba residents may register for disability & health supports through the "Disability & Health Supports Unit" [DHSU]. Reimbursement is dependent on income and level of need.

Program details: Disability & Health Support Unit

New Brunswick

The "Social Development Health Services" is the main program for accessing supply funding or reimbursement. A person or family may receive funding for up to 80% of their required supplies without an annual cap. Persons must not have any other medical coverage to be eligible for full benefits.

Program details: Health Services Ostomy/Incontinence Program

Newfoundland and Labrador

The "Special Assistance Program—medical equipment and supplies"  is a provincial program providing basic medical supplies and equipment to assist with activities of daily living for individuals living in the community. Persons must meet eligibility criteria to receive funding. Program benefits include: medical supplies (such as dressings, catheters and incontinent supplies). 

Program details: Newfoundland-Labrador Prescription Drug Program (NLPDP)

 Nova Scotia

The "Pharmacare Program" pays for certain prescribed drugs, supplies and related services dispensed by Nova Scotia pharmacies. The drugs and supplies covered are listed in the Nova Scotia Formulary, that is updated regularly. Certain medications [and supplies] will require special approval from Pharmacare. The co-pay and deductible is solely dependent on individual/family income.

Program details: Nova Scotia Pharmacare


Funding for medical supplies is provided by the "Ontario Assistive Device Program" (ADP). Fixed grants up to $1,300 annually are provided based on certain criteria. ADP covers over 8,000 separate pieces of equipment or supplies. For eligibility requirements and program details: Assistive Devices Program ON

Prince Edward Island (PEI)

"Pharmacare" through the PEI government has a separate Ostomy supply program that will cover up to 90% coverage to a maximum $2,400.00 based on income. Special Authorization and Family Health Benefit programs may provide coverage for incontinence supplies. A physician application is required. For more details: PEI Pharmacare Program


"Regie/Quebec Health Insurance" (RAMQ) provides funding for “accessory costs”.  Eligible individuals registered under Quebec’s "Last Resort Financial Assistance Program" will be fully reimbursed for medical supply costs that exceed $1,200. Ostomates receive reimbursement of $818.00/year for temporary ostomy and $1228.00 per year for permanent ostomy. Program details:  Regie/Quebec Health Insurance Board


The Saskatchewan "Aids to Independent Living" (SAIL) will provide 50% reimbursement for supplies and equipment (including some incontinence supplies). Eligibility criteria apply. For more information: Saskatchewan SAIL Program


Yukon’s “Chronic Disease and Disability Benefits Program & Pharmacare” (Seniors) program provides 100% coverage for a number of medications, supplies and devices. A physician must apply for benefits on behalf of the patient, or in communities without a resident MD, a community health nurse may make application. Certain restrictions apply. Program details: Yukon Chronic Disease & Disability Benefits Program.

If you or your loved one needs medical equipment and supplies, take advantage of the available federal and provincial funding. While these may not cover all your costs, it will help you live Instride.

 (Article informed by presentation by Rosemary Hill and Ann Durkee-MacIsaac (NSWOCC May 24, 2019)


Karen Laforet

Karen Laforet

Karen is an RN with over 30 years of experience in skin & wound management, health advocacy, & policy. She is an experienced writer on all things health-related.
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