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Finances, Investments and Tax Tips

Many Canadian banks and credit unions now offer a variety of on-line services including various transaction monitoring features. Having text alerts sent to your mobile device and/or e-mail is but one more tool that will assist people who are blind or sight-impaired to closely monitor activity on their Visa, MasterCard and/or other bank accounts in real time. As of the date on the bottom of this page, none of the major banks or credit unions are charging a fee for this service.

As we all struggle with an array of non-accessible “point-of-sale” PIN pad devices, we know this is not a perfect solution. But imagine entering your PIN on a mobile PIN-pad device that a food server has just brought to your table and, within a minute of finishing the transaction, you receive a text message from your bank confirming a charge of X dollars has just gone through on your account? Or better still, you receive a text confirmation before you exit the taxi? (See note below.)

Banks currently offering this service are:
Bank of Montreal
Bank of Nova Scotia
CIBC Alert Services
Royal Bank Alert Services
TD/Canada Trust E-Services

NOTE: TD/Canada Trust provides alert services for the primary cardholder only and not additional cards on the Visa account.

Credit unions currently offering this service are:
Coast Capital Credit Union Alerts

In some cases, we have asked these banks to consider adding notification of any “pre-authorization” activity against a credit card.

NOTE: While many transactions are processed in real time, many vendors, such as hotels and taxi cabs simply obtain a pre-authorization from the credit card company. They may not process the transaction for some time later. A pre-authorization notification would inform you that a transaction is pending against your account, which is better than learning several weeks later that the cab driver had charged you too much.

Canadian Banknote Reader

Instructions on how to operate The Canadian Banknote Reader (Pending)

Financial Transaction Software

Accomplish, based in New Zealand, has been supplying businesses and their accountants with accounting software since 1992. Accomplish CashManager has been reviewed by various organizations serving people with vision loss. You may access these reviews on the Accomplish CashManager’s “Accessibility” page. Organizations such as GW-Micro, Vision Australia and the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind are continuing to work with Accomplished developers and testers to make enhancements more user friendly for people who are blind or sight-impaired. This software application is quite usable within Canada although it is not capable of calculating Canada’s various provincial tax structures (i.e. PST versus HST) or the federal Goods & Services tax automatically.


A registered disability savings plan (RDSP) is a savings plan to help parents and others save for the long-term financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit. Contributions to an RDSP are not tax deductible and can be made until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 59. Visit the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) to obtain more information directly from the Canada Revenue Agency web site.

In order to open a registered disability savings plan (RDSP), one must have established eligibility and registered for the disability tax credit.

Those who have established a registered disability savings plan (RDSP) may wish to apply for an additional $150 grant from the Vancouver Foundation.

Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) began in 1989 when a small group of parents gathered to consider how they could best support their son or daughter with a disability. These courageous parents acknowledged that one day they would need to pass on the responsibility for the care of their son or daughter to someone else. The question was, “Who?” For those who have a child or a relative with a disability this question – “Who will take care of our children when we are gone?” is real and pressing. The families who founded Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) searched and discovered solutions to securing the future for loved ones with disabilities. Over time, the question changed from a ‘after-we’re-gone’ focus and recognized that planning for the future changes the present. Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) has evolved to find the many answers to: What does a good life look like for our relatives with disabilities? “We got involved because we wanted certain things for our sons and daughters after we were gone. What we didn’t realize were the benefits while we were still alive.” – Joan Lawrence, PLAN founder.

Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) offers informational courses on:
Registered Disability Savings Plan seminars – attend either a workshop in-person or, if more convenient, participate in one of their teleconference seminars; the schedule for each can be found by following the link.

Wills Trusts & Estates: – This two hour Workshop will assist you in becoming well-informed about wills, trusts and estate planning which is necessary to secure the financial future of your loved one with a disability. In this course, estate-planning attorney Halldor Bjarnason explains how to arrange your estate. You will learn how to prepare a will, as well as the various ins and outs of estate planning. This course, designed for families and individuals with disabilities, is hosted as a small group session where specific individual questions are answered.

Tax Tips

Persons with disabilities may qualify for a disability tax credit which can help to reduce your taxable income by hundreds of dollars. Any unused portion of the tax credit can be transferred to a family member too. Disability tax credit eligibility is determined under the Income Tax Act of Canada administered by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The eligibility requirements for the Disability Tax Credit can be viewed on-line by following this link. An accessible Disability Tax Credit form (T2201) is downloadable from the Canada Revenue Agency web site.

Under qualifying circumstances, disability support expenses may be eligible to assist in the reduction of taxable income. The following expenses are eligible for the disability supports deduction. Select the expense that applies to you to determine the conditions under which it can be claimed:

  1. Attendant care services
  2. Bliss symbol boards
  3. Braille note-takers
  4. Braille printers
  5. Deaf-blind intervening services
  6. Devices or software
  7. Electronic speech synthesizers
  8. Job coaching services
  9. Note-taking services
  10. Optical scanners
  11. Page-turning devices
  12. Reading services
  13. Real-time captioning or sign-language interpretation services
  14. Talking textbooks
  15. Teletypewriters
  16. Tutoring services
  17. Voice-recognition software

Additional topics for persons with disabilities from the Canada Revenue Agency web site:

Additional forms and publications available through the Canada Revenue Agency web site:

Other related topics from the Canada Revenue Agency web site:

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