Faculty & Librarians: Health Care Spending Account

Your Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) is provided by the University of Toronto and administered by Green Shield Canada.

The HCSA is effective July 1, 2017; It can be used to pay for expenses that qualify as a Medical Expense Tax Credit under the Income Tax Act of Canada.

You can claim for reimbursement of eligible expenses. An eligible expense would be:

  • A deductible expense on your income tax return, as outlined in the Income Tax Act regulations and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) interpretation bulletins; and,
  • An item for which you are not receiving benefits coverage under a provincial health insurance plan or under your group benefit plan or your spouse’s group benefit plan.

(This means you can be reimbursed for the amount of the deductible, the percentage not covered by the group benefit plan, or the amount in excess of group benefit plan maximums).


Dependent means your eligible dependent as defined on the Definitions of Benefits page;  which could include a relative who is a Canadian resident and dependent on you for support and for whom you are claiming a tax deduction on your federal tax return, as defined by the rules and regulations of the Canadian Income Tax Act.

A predetermined lump sum amount will be allocated to your HCSA at the beginning of each benefit year. Your benefit year runs from July 01 to June 30.  This allocation is pro-rated for part-time members and/or for those who commence employment during the benefit plan year.

Effective July 1, 2017:

 Hire Date  HCSA Allocation
 July 1 – September 30  $650
 October 1 – December 31  $485
 January 1 – March 31  $325
 April 1 – May 31  $165


Please note: June hires will have full HCSA coverage commencing July 1.

This lump sum amount, will be allocated to your HCSA to cover the reimbursement of eligible expenses incurred during that benefit year. When you submit a claim, you will be reimbursed for eligible expenses up to the remaining balance in your HCSA.

Any balance remaining in your HCSA on the last day of the benefit year will be carried forward to, but not beyond the end of, the next benefit year.  This balance will be added to your new plan year allocation, and claims for the new benefit year may be applied to the combined amount using the previous benefit year carryforward first.  At the end of the new benefit year, any remaining allocation from the previous benefit year will be forfeited.

Eligible Expenses

Eligible expense are those that would qualify as a medical expense tax credit under the Income Tax Act of Canada and outlined in the Act regulations and CRA Interpretation Bulletins. This excludes any expense for which you or your eligible dependent is eligible for reimbursement under a group benefit plan or provincial health insurance plan.

Following is an overview of many of the items included in CRA Medical Expense Tax Credits of the Income Tax Act, and is subject to change.

  • Out-of-pocket expenses not reimbursed through your group benefit plan. This would be any applicable deductible, benefit percentage or amounts exceeding any applicable benefit plan maximums;
  • Fees for Professional Services, such as:
    • acupuncturist (qualified medical practitioner)
    • chiropodist (podiatrist)
    • chiropractor
    • Christian Science practitioner
    • dentist
    • naturopath
    • nurse
    • optometrist
    • physician
    • physiotherapist
    • psychologist (when licensed by the province to provide therapy or rehabilitation)
    • speech therapist (for pathological or audiological impediments)
    • therapeutist (therapist)(Medical practitioners must be registered in the jurisdiction in which the services are rendered.)
  • Fees for Dental Care services, such as diagnostic, preventive, endodontics, periodontics, restorative and orthodontics;
  • Drugs and medicines (preparations or substances) prescribed by medical practitioner, including over-the-counter drugs;
  • Eyeglasses and contact lenses or other devices for the treatment or correction of a vision defect, as prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner or optometrist;
  • Fees paid to a public or licensed private hospital (as defined in the Income Tax Act);
  • Fees paid for facilities and services, such as –
    • care in a nursing home; a self-contained domestic establishment; or a special school, institution or other place required by reason of a mental or physical handicap
    • care of a person who has been certified to be mentally incompetent; or a blind person
    • full-time attendants or care in a nursing home (for those confined to a bed or wheelchair);
  • Ambulance fees for transportation to or from hospitals;
  • Fees paid for Medical Equipment and Devices, which are prescribed by a medical practitioner, such as:
    • Artificial eye; limb; artificial kidney machine (including reasonable installation, home alteration and operating costs)
    • Blood sugar level measuring devices for diabetes
    • Brace for a limb
    • Colostomy and ileostomy pads
    • Crutches
    • Diapers, disposable briefs, catheters, catheter trays, tubing or other products required by persons who are incontinent on account of illness, injury or affliction
    • Heart monitoring or pacing devices
    • Hospital bed (when required at home)
    • Needles and syringes
    • Wheelchair
    • Wigs made to order and required as a result of abnormal hair loss due to disease, accident or medical treatment
    • Power-operated lift designed exclusively for use by disabled individuals (to allow access to different levels of a building, to assist in gaining access to a vehicle, or to place wheelchairs in or on a vehicle)
    • Device designed to assist a person in entering or leaving a bathtub or shower, or getting on or off the toilet
    • Devices designed exclusively to enable an individual with a mobility impairment to operate a vehicle
    • Device to aid the hearing of a deaf person
    • Electronic speech synthesizers that enable mute individuals to communicate using a portable keyboard
    • Synthetic speech systems, Braille printers and large print-on-screen devices that enable blind persons to utilize computers
    • Monitors which can be attached to babies identified as being prone to sudden infant death syndrome and which sound an alarm when the baby stops breathing
    • Hearing aids
  • Other Eligible Expenses include:
    • Premiums paid to a private insurer for medical or hospital coverage; including your Uof T medical/dental plan premiums.
    • Costs of acquisition, care and maintenance (including food and veterinarian care) of a dog specially trained to assist a person who is blind, deaf, or severely impaired in the use of arms or legs
    • Costs of arranging and having a bone marrow or organ transplant, including legal fees, insurance premiums, travel, meal and accommodation expenses
    • Reasonable home renovations for persons who lack normal physical development or who have severe and prolonged mobility impairment, to enable them to be mobile and functional within the dwelling

A complete listing of eligible expenses can be found in the CRA website.

If you have questions regarding eligibility of any expenses, contact:

Green Shield Customer Service Centre
Phone: 1.888.711.1119


Expenses not eligible for reimbursement are at all times governed by the non-eligible expenses, restrictions and limitations set forth in the Income Tax Act.  An example of ineligible expenses would be:

  • Premiums paid to provincial medical or hospitalization plans; and,
  • Medical costs for which the person is reimbursed or is entitled to be reimbursed under any other plan

During a period of unpaid leave If you elect to continue benefits coverage under your group plan, you may submit claims for expenses incurred prior to, or during, the period of your leave.

Only expenses incurred prior to the date of termination of employment, retirement, death, or leave of absence greater than 30 days (other than a Maternity, Adoption or Parental Leave) will be eligible for reimbursement.

Your HCSA is governed at all times by the rules and regulations of the Income Tax Act.  In the event of a dispute the Income Tax Act shall prevail.  The liability for the HCSA lies solely with the University