moved for leave to introduce Bill C-417, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (inborn error of metabolism).
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a private member's bill, seconded by the member for Ottawa Centre, to establish a medical expense credit for people who require special diets due to inborn errors of metabolism.
This bill would allow people with inborn errors of metabolism, who have been certified by a medical practitioner to require a low-protein diet, to claim the extra cost of purchasing specialized food products as a medical expense on their tax returns. The cost of this diet as compared to the cost of a standard diet recommended by Canada's Food Guide is significant. Under current rules, these people must absorb this extra cost themselves.
This situation was drawn to my attention by Stephen Kelen, a social worker, and Dr. Sandra Sirrs, the medical director of the adult metabolic diseases clinic at Vancouver Hospital. Dr. Sirrs notes that this bill would be an enormous help for those patients and their families whose survival depends on very expensive low-protein food products. She points out that these patients cannot survive on a normal diet, that paying for low-protein foods they need just to stay alive has been a terrible burden on them and their families, and that this bill will ease that burden.
A similar medical exemption already exists for people living with celiac disease. People living with inborn errors of metabolism should benefit from a similar provision. I hope that members will support this measure.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)