Federal government would save billions with expanded fitness tax credit

    EDMONTON, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - The federal government would save $2.5 billion
over the next 21 years by extending the benefits of the current Children's
Fitness Tax Credit program to adults, Dave Hardy, President of the Fitness
Industry Council of Canada (FIC) said today following the release of an
economic study on the effects of the program.
    "The financial incentive offered by a federal adult fitness tax credit
will encourage nearly one million more Canadians to get active and healthier,"
said Hardy. "These healthier Canadians will need less health care and miss
less work due to illness."
    The economic report conducted by the Centre for Spatial Economics on
behalf of FIC concludes that it would take just three years for the health
care cost savings resulting from a more active and healthier population to
outweigh the net personal tax losses incurred by the government. The credit
takes the form of a non-refundable tax credit on eligible amounts of up to
$500 per person. Projecting 21 years outward, the report's findings show the
government would see cumulated health care savings of $9.1 billion and
cumulated net personal tax losses of $6.6 billion.
    "Consumers typically respond to a price decline for a given product or
service by purchasing more of that product or service," Tom McCormack, the
report's author said. "The economic benefits can be expected to grow each year
throughout the projection period because of the cumulative benefits of
increased physical activity on the well being of Canadians."
    Research consistently shows that a physically active person is more
likely to have better health outcomes than a non-active person. Regular
physical activity is effective in the prevention of several chronic diseases.
    "With the Children's Fitness Tax Credit, the federal government already
agrees that a financial incentive is an appropriate way to increase physical
activity among Canadians," said Hardy. "Extending the program to include
adults is not only good for the personal health of Canadians but also the
financial health of the country. We urge the government to act quickly on this
important initiative."
    Media are invited to attend the report's official release at 10:00 am
MST, Tuesday January 29, at Clubfit, located 13543 St. Albert Trail in
Edmonton, Alberta. The report can also be viewed at

    As an industry association, FIC represents more than 2,000 Canadian
fitness facilities with more than two million members. FIC is a not for profit
organization formed to promote the Canadian fitness industry.

    The Centre for Spatial Economics monitors and forecasts economic and
demographic change throughout Canada at virtually all levels of geography. The
Centre also prepares customized studies on the economic, industrial and
community impacts of various fiscal and other policy changes, and develops
customized impact and projection models for in-house client use. Clients
include government departments, crown corporations, manufacturers, retailers
and real estate developers.

For further information:

For further information: Dave Hardy, President, Fitness Industry Council
of Canada, Tel: (780) 953-4273; Tom McCormack, Executive Director, Centre for
Spatial Economics, 1-888-774-9009

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