News / A PROPOSED SENIORS ACTIVITY TAX CREDIT: GO FIT
Research shows that the major contributors to ill health in older people are sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition. Regular exercise not only improves physical health, it also is the best protection for the brain and an effective deterrent to dementias. The proposed GO FIT program would help address costly ill health and dementias by motivating seniors to be active through a meaningful tax credit. The resulting increase in regular exercise will have a modest price tag but will have a significant impact on the quality of life of seniors in Ontario and will significantly limit the human and healthcare system costs of the diabetes and dementia epidemics that are now rampant. It will also help decrease other costly medical problems such as heart disease.
GO FIT PROGRAM
This community based exercise program would provide tax credits of up to $500 for those seniors whose exercise programs meet certain regular exercise participation goals. These goals for regular participation would be based on a participation frequency of at least three times per week (three hours of activity). This is the level of activity that research shows can have a material impact on the health and quality of life of seniors with the consequent avoidance and lowering of healthcare costs. The physical activity content of these sessions would be established by the GO-FIT Committee, a committee of seniors in consultation with health professionals and officials of the Ministries of Health and Long Term Care and Health Promotion managing the program.
The GO-FIT Exercise programs would be monitored by community centres and other service providers which were authorized for this purpose, along the lines used in Ontario's Clean Air Program in which service providers are authorized to certify compliance based on standards set by the Ontario Government. These authorized monitoring agencies would track and sign off on regular exercise programs that meet the program criteria.