Psychotherapy Tax

Your therapist must collect GST/HST 

One of my sons, who has qualified as a registered psychotherapist after 5 years of study, just told me about something which I find most distressing:
Counselling therapists and psychotherapists must collect GST/HST.

Psychiatrists and family doctors do not have to charge the GST/HST: they are paid by the various provincial insurance systems without having to submit a GST/HST tax report to the government.

Most people don’t get adequate, satisfying counselling from their family doctor anyway, because MDs are not taught how to listen: medical school training does not include in-depth psychotherapy instruction, so the doctor is not as well qualified to supply what the psychotherapy patient needs.
Secondly, the doctor doesn’t have enough time to listen: time and patience are essential to an adequate psychotherapy session and the family doctor falls short on both prerequisites, as compared with a trained and certified psychotherapist.
Thirdly, the MD has been trained to prescribe psychoactive drugs as treatment for psychological upset: if you refuse drugs, the doctor may be less inclined to deal with you.

Think about it – the usual psychotherapy course takes 5 years and the MD course, 3 years: who would you expect to provide psychotherapy to your satisfaction – an MD, who hasn’t had the same in-depth training, may not be a good listener and who only has 10 – 20 minutes to talk to you, or a psychotherapist, trained to listen and responsive to your story, who will dedicate an hour to your concerns?

The family doctor might refer you to a psychiatrist (but

(1) Psychiatry training does not include the intensive study, instruction from experienced psychotherapists, personal experience of psychotherapy and ongoing supervision, which the psychotherapist has to go through as a prerequisite to registration.
(2) The psychiatrist’s MO is to make a diagnosis as to what sort of mental illness the complainant has and to write a prescription, for treatment of that illness.
This is counterproductive, because the psychotherapist’s clients are simply upset, confused, or having difficulty with modern life: they are not mentally ill, they don’t need psychotropics and the side effects of psychoactive drugs can make their situation worse.
(3) Even if the psychiatrist is an exceptionally good listener and is willing to spend the time (some are), he or she is a government servant, subject to and fearful of the rigid regulations which govern civil servants. ***
(4) As with all other branches of medicine, there has been a chronic shortage of psychiatrists for 30 years and an immediate appointment for assessment is almost unheard of.

*** see Choosing wisely: 13 tests and treatments to question”, by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, last updated: July 2022, in the page entitled “preventive care, as it could be”.

The therapist’s fee …… plus tax?

The (average) $150 psychotherapist’s fee is reasonable (in fact, inexpensive, in view of their training) and there is a saving in drug costs, which psychotherapists don’t prescribe.
However several visits may be necessary, so adding a $22.50 tax to the fee for every visit can make the difference between affordability and unsustainable cost.

A tax on distress?

A mandatory GST/HST tax on necessary healthcare makes it seem as though our government is taxing citizens for their distress.

An anti-efficiency tax?

What is the cost to society when a worker is too upset to concentrate on the job ?
(see addendum, below) and why should our government tax the upset worker’s psychotherapy healthcare, making it difficult for stressed-out persons to get the help they need to return to normal function?


Now the good news!  A petition has been started, to convince the government to discontinue taxation of the disadvantaged: see


For an understanding of the sort of “troubles” which your psychotherapist may be able to steer you away from, please see the paragraph on stress and its effects, in “intracellular hypothyroidism and thyroid hormone

Published by Dr. Gervais Harry

I am a Toronto-trained Urologist. I practiced in downtown Toronto, from 1977 to 1997, when I went to Saudi Arabia as chief of Urology at the Armed Forces (teaching) hospital in Tabuk. Returning to Toronto in Y2000, I switched to family practice. In 2007, began to prescribe Hormone Restoration Therapy and in 2012, I became a member of the American Academy of Antiaging Medicine [A4M]. I successfully wrote the A4M's written examination in December, 2013 and In May, 2016 I passed the oral examination, for accreditation as a BHRT consultant. In 2014 I began BHRT practice in Collingwood, Ontario and in January, 2017, joined the Stone Tree Naturopathic Clinic. Now I am 82 and have retired, but it seems wasteful to jettison my learning and experience: the medical establishment knows nothing of BHRT / Functonal medicine and I feel obliged to offer my knowledge in the interest of those who are willing to think outside the box. MY QUALIFICATIONS: MB, BS, (from UWI), 1964. LMCC 1969. FRCSC (Urology), 1974. ECFMG 1984. Florida license 1998 [inactive], ABAARM Certification [A4M], 2016. I am a Member of CSAMM [the Canadian Society for Aging and Metabolic Medicine], the OMA&CMA, SUSO, CUA, RCP&S/C. PRACTICE TO DATE: Consultation in Functional Medicine, including assessment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Andropause, Menopause, Teenage and Postpartum Depression/Panic Attacks, Thyroid Hormone malfunction, Infertility, Sexual Dysfunction and “the Undiagnosable”. ALL ARE WELCOME to read, comment or question!

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