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Tax breaks aimed at fighting flab

Alberta may adopt a $500 tax incentive plan for fitness fees


 
Tax breaks aimed at fighting flab

Photograph by Waltraud Grubitzsch/ Zuma/ Keystone

Albertans, like most Canadians, keep getting fatter. So in an attempt to reverse rising obesity rates and encourage active lifestyles, the province’s Progressive Conservative government is considering a fitness tax reward.

The incentive is a tax break of up to $500 on fees for things like gym memberships, ski passes and hockey registration. “We saw it pretty clearly with the tax break on home renovations—people jump on the bandwagon,” says Colleen Parsons, director of health and fitness programs at the University of Calgary. “It’s an excellent opportunity for people to engage.” The bill, which was passed in the legislature but hasn’t yet been made into law, comes on the heels of a similar incentive implemented in Nova Scotia in 2009, and is meant to complement the federal government’s children’s fitness tax credit. It’s also supposed to update the province’s 12-year-old active-living policy, which the government and provincial sports organizations say needs retooling.

Today, one-third of adult Albertans are overweight and about 20 per cent are obese. Parsons says one of the main reasons Albertans avoid the gym and activities like skiing is the cost. The incentive has been endorsed by the Fitness Industry Council of Canada, which conducted a study that found the feds could save $2.5 billion in health care costs over 25 years and get up to one million more Canadians physically active with tax breaks. But, says Parsons, the idea is not a panacea for better health. “Will it change the health of Albertans? No. That’s a much larger problem.”

Cindy Ady, Alberta’s minister for tourism, parks and recreation, agrees. She says the tax incentive needs to be part of a larger program aimed at changing the minds of Albertans, and that the government still needs to go through consultations to figure out what works best. “I don’t want little quick fixes,” says Ady. “The tax credit piece is just one component.”


 

Tax breaks aimed at fighting flab

  1. More "nanny state" waste of money. We have come to the point we have to pay fat ass people to get healthy. Cutting fat people of Medicare would be a better idea. Have you ever seen pictures of large crowds in Canada in the 1950s' or earlier. Notice how hard it is to find a fat person. These slobs blame their genes, metabolism, anything but their own sloth. Now the rest of us are supposed to pay for them to get off their butts and walk instead of filling their faces. Stupid Stelmach does it again. This guy is toast at the next election.

  2. That's not a bad idea. More things like that should be tried. Of course there is not one magic solution, but still if think it's a good move. Scrabble Solver

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  6. Even though it will not change the health of Albertans this is a notable forward step to changing to a better world.
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  7. Albertans are really fat.

  8. This is really interesting & helpful. Now people will be more conscious about their health. Thats so nice of them.
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  9. Wow This is great news. I always wanted to go to the gym but I had;t enough money to do so . Thanks
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  10. Wow This is great news. I always wanted to go to the gym but I had

  11. I know for a fact that when going to the gym you always must have a partner, either a friend or a coach. If not it will become very boring and you'll drop out soon. I hope this helps.
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  12. Enough is enough when it comes to cutting K-12 education. It seems that the new governor is not willing to cut anymore education, but you never know with these politicians. Best Fitness Programs

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