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Understanding Canada's Child Fitness Tax Credit

Updated on March 14, 2017
Child Playing Under the Canadian Flag
Child Playing Under the Canadian Flag

Confused About the Child Fitness Canada Tax Credit?

On this page, a Canadian CGA explains the implications of the Canadian Child Fitness Tax Credit. You will learn what it means, who is eligible and how to apply for this tax break if you are entitled to claim it.

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of having healthy, fit and active children. However, as you no doubt realize, having your child participate in fitness related activities is not an inexpensive proposition. The Canada Income Tax Act provides a Child Fitness Tax Credit to offset some of the expense. The credits apply to eligible fitness activities.

But which activities are eligible?

According to Linh Tsiu, CGA, The Child Fitness Tax Credit causes more confusion than any other issue impacting family tax benefits in Canada. In this lens, Linh explains and elaborates upon this credit. Make sure you are claiming every possible benefit.

Linh Tsiu, CGA
Linh Tsiu, CGA

Introducing Linh Tsiu, CGA

Specializing in Family Tax Benefits

Linh Tsiu is a Certified General Accountant (CGA) who specializes in Family Tax Benefits. In her fifteen years as an accountant, Linh has worked with small and medium sized business, individuals and families. A self-employed mom living in Metro Vancouver, Linh is particularly interested in nanny and caregiver payroll and tax services, as well as income tax returns and accounting for small businesses.

Linh has provided the tax tips on this page. She is passionate about helping people claim the most tax credits permitted by law. "No one should EVER pay more taxes than they absolutely have to," she says.

Tax Tips Canada
Tax Tips Canada

What is the Child Fitness Tax Credit

The Canada Income Tax Act provides a number of tax credits to help offset the high cost of parenting. Linh's overview of the full range of credits is located at this link: Child Tax Credits Canada

The Child Fitness Tax Credit allows you to claim up to $500 per year, per child, for participation in an eligible fitness program. The credit is to be used for the price of registration or membership in a suitable program. Receipts are required.

To be eligible, the program must contribute to cardio-respiratory endurance, plus at least ONE of the following: muscular strength, muscular endurance, balance and flexibility

Activities that promote cardio-respiratory endurance include running, jogging, swimming, cross country skiing and many more. The Canada's Physical Activity Guides for Children and Youth outlines some of the activities that are acceptable. You can order a copy of the guide (its free!) at the web site. See the link below.

Please note that while activities such as hockey and soccer are obviously strenuous and eligible for the credit, less strenuous activities such as golf lessons, bowling, horseback lessons and sailing are also eligible. This is not a complete list; many other activities quality as well.

If your Child has a Disability

If your child has a documented disability, some fitness activities are deductible. These include activities that require movement or recreational activities, such as horseback riding, that require exertion.

Criteria for Eligible Programs and Membership

It Depends on Various Factors

To be eligible to claim the Canada Child Fitness Tax Credit, a program must run for a time period of eight consecutive weeks with one or more sessions per week, OR over a time period of eight consecutive days.

If these timing requirements are met, then eligibility will depend on the amount of time that the program devotes to fitness activity. To determine whether your program meets the criteria, refer to the link at the right side of this text.

If your program is not eligible for 100% of the tax credit, you may still be able to claim a prorated amount.

Consult with your tax professional to be sure you are claiming as much as possible.

Activities that are NOT Eligible

These are the ones you can't claim

The following activities are not eligible for the Canada Child Fitness Tax Credit:

  1. Any activity in which riding in a motorized vehicle plays a major role is not eligible. Snow Mobiling or golfing with a motorized golf cart would be examples.
  2. Unsupervised activity (i.e. self directed) is not eligible
  3. Activities that are part of a regular school program are not eligible.. That is, fees charged for the child to participate in a school athletic or fitness program, in which the child earns credits towards his grades or diploma, are not eligible. However, extra-curricular activities that happen to take place in the school ARE eligible.
  4. Activities that are deemed unsafe or unsuitable for children, or that do not meet safety requirements.

© 2010 June Campbell

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