Government Tax Incentive Would Get More Canadians Off the Couch

    EDMONTON, Feb. 8 /CNW/ - A new Stats Canada report that highlights
declining physical activity rates among Canadian adults is another reason the
Federal Government should expand the Children's Fitness Tax Credit to include
adults, Dave Hardy, President of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC)
said following the report's release.
    "The Stats Can report shows the trend is headed in the wrong direction.
As a nation we need more people exercising, not less," said Hardy. "Extending
the children's fitness tax credit to include adults will get more Canadians
active, will result in less of a burden on our health-care system and as a
result, will save the government money."
    The Stats Canada report suggested an aging population, more entertainment
options such as TV and the Internet, and household income, have all played a
role in a declining number of physically active Canadians. Last week, FIC
released an economic report that detailed how 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.
    "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.
    "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."

    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.

For further information:

For further information: Dave Hardy, President, Fitness Industry Council
of Canada, Tel: (780) 953-4273

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