Medical and Assistive Devices

Most medical and assistive devices are taxable; some, however, are conditionally or unconditionally zero-rated.

The conditions that a device must meet to be zero-rated vary depending on its type and use. For example, in some cases, devices are zero-rated only if supplied under prescription, while in other cases, no prescription is required.

Unconditionally zero-rated devices and articles

Certain devices and articles are zero-rated at all times, unconditionally, regardless of who acquires them. Such devices and articles include:

  • blood-glucose meters or monitors
  • blood-sugar or blood-ketone testing strips, as well as any other device used to test urinary sugar, urinary ketone or blood ketone
  • lancets (devices used to penetrate the skin to obtain a blood sample)
  • artificial limbs, teeth and eyes and laryngeal speaking aids
  • mechanical percussors for postural drainage treatment
  • insulin infusion pumps or syringes
  • medical or surgical prostheses (such as hip prostheses and intraocular lenses), all similar devices that are designed to be worn by a person, ileostomy and colostomy appliances (designed for individuals who have had part of their intestines removed), and urinary devices
  • orthodontic appliances and hearing aids
  • portable wheelchair ramps

Devices and articles that are zero-rated if supplied on written order

Certain devices and articles are zero-rated only if they are supplied on the written order of a specified professional for use by the individual named in the order. Such devices and articles include:

  • devices that are designed to convert sound into light signals, for use by persons with a hearing impairment
  • heart-monitoring devices
  • devices for treating asthma
  • graduated compression stockings, anti-embolic stockings and certain similar articles
  • catheters for subcutaneous injections (also called “button infusers”)
  • extremity pumps, intermittent pressure pumps or similar devices used in the treatment of lymphedema
  • hospital beds
  • orthopedic footwear, that is, footwear specially designed for an individual with a crippled or deformed foot or other similar disability
  • clothing specially designed for persons with a disability
Optical devices specially designed to treat or correct a defect of vision electronically are also zero-rated if they are supplied after February 11, 2014, on the written order of a physician or an optometrist for use by the individual named in the order.

Zero-rated products and services

The following products and services are also zero-rated:

  • parts and accessories for zero-rated medical and assistive devices
  • services related to these devices, such as their
    • installation
    • maintenance
    • restoration
    • repair
    • modification

For more information, consult the brochure The QST and the GST/HST: How They Apply to Medical Devices and Drugs (IN-211-V).

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