The QST and the GST/HST: How They Apply to Medical Devices

Most medical and assistive devices are taxable. As a result, the GST and QST generally apply to medical and assistive devices intended for:

  • consumers
  • healthcare institutions (such as hospitals and clinics)
  • healthcare professionals (such as physicians, pharmacists and dentists)

“Medical and assistive devices” are property designed for human use or for assisting a person with a disability or impairment.

However, certain medical and assistive devices are zero-rated throughout the distribution chain, regardless of who acquires them. Furthermore, they may be imported into Canada or brought into Québec tax-free, regardless of who conducts these transactions.

Devices sold under prescription

Medical and assistive devices sold under prescription are usually subject to GST and QST throughout the distribution chain. They are zero-rated only at the end of the chain, when they are sold for use by the person named in the prescription. When such devices are imported into Canada or brought into Québec, they are subject to tax; the person who imports them or brings them in must therefore pay GST and QST on the transaction.

However, if the devices are brought into Québec in the course of the person's commercial activities and they give entitlement to an input tax refund (ITR), the person is not required to pay QST.

Clothing that is specially designed for disabled persons is zero-rated only at the end of the distribution chain, when it is sold to a person who acquires it under a prescription.

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