How Much Does Therapy Cost for Canadians? [2024]

Written by Nicole Laoutaris
Last updated on: May 13, 2024
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In your quest to understand the costs associated with therapy, it's important to note that these can greatly vary based on the therapist's level of education, qualifications, and years of experience. Certain therapy types might demand more intensive training, subsequently affecting the price.

Therapy costs typically span from $90 per hour to $250 or beyond. In many regions, the average session rate falls within the range of $100-$200. Several factors come into play when determining the price of therapy, including the therapist's level of training and expertise.

Registered Psychotherapists/Counselling Therapists and Registered Social Workers tend to be more affordable, starting at about $50 per session. 

Psychologists have, at minimum, a master’s degree and often a PhD, so their costs can be expected to be more in the $200-$350 range. Psychologists often offer reduced cost counselling for as low as $175 per session.

Psychiatrists have the highest level of education—a medical degree—they will be covered by your provincial healthcare plan if you were referred to them by a doctor. You can access psychiatrists through a private practice, but they will not be covered by provincial insurance in that case.

First Session clearly lists every therapist’s session costs (taxes included where applicable) so you can easily consider your budget before reaching out to a practitioner.

Does my therapist charge GST/HST?

In Canada, the taxation of therapy services, including those provided by therapists, depends on the type of therapy and the province or territory in which the services are provided.

Here's a general overview:

  1. Exemptions: Many healthcare services provided by licensed healthcare professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists, are exempt from GST/HST. This exemption often includes psychotherapy services. However, the specific criteria for exemption can vary.
  2. Provincial Differences: Each Canadian province and territory has its regulations regarding taxation on services, including therapy.
  3. Type of Therapy: For example, psychotherapy provided by a registered psychologist might be exempt, while other types of counselling services provided by non-registered practitioners might not be.
  4. Insurance Coverage: In some cases, whether or not a service is taxed can depend on whether it is covered by insurance. Services paid for directly by insurance might be treated differently for tax purposes than those paid for out-of-pocket.

It's important for individuals seeking therapy services in Canada to inquire directly with their therapist or the governing body in their province or territory for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding taxation.

In the latest 2023 Fall Economic Statement, the Canadian government’s announced its plans to make psychotherapy and counselling services exempt from GST/HST. This exemption is said to begin in the 2024-25 fiscal year.

Therapy as medical expense in Canada

If you are paying out of pocket, therapy and counselling expenses can often be claimed as medical expenses on your income tax return, potentially reducing your overall tax burden. However, there are specific conditions and requirements for these expenses to be eligible:

  1. Qualifying Practitioner: The therapy must be provided by a qualified medical practitioner, and be certified in the province or territory where the service is rendered for it to be eligible.
  2. Keep your receipts: You must have official receipts from the therapist or the clinic that provided the services. These receipts should detail the services provided, the dates, the amounts paid, and information about the practitioner.
  3. Claim Period: You can claim medical expenses paid within any 12-month period ending in the tax year and not claimed in the previous year.
  4. Threshold for Medical Expenses: There's a minimum threshold for claiming medical expenses. You can claim the total of your eligible medical expenses minus either 3% of your net income or a specific threshold amount set by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), whichever is less.
  5. Inclusion in Tax Return: These expenses are claimed as a non-refundable tax credit on your personal income tax return. This means they reduce the amount of income tax you owe, but they won't create a refund if you didn't owe any tax.
  6. Insurance Reimbursements: If you've been reimbursed for these expenses (for example, by a health insurance plan), you can only claim the portion of the expenses that were not reimbursed.

It's always a good practice to consult with a tax professional or refer to the CRA's guidelines for the most current information and to ensure that your specific circumstances qualify for these deductions.

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About the Author

Nicole Laoutaris

Nicole Laoutaris is a freelance writer and adult learning professional based in the Greater Toronto Area. She specializes in educational content for brands and companies in industries such as mental health, pet health, lifestyle and wellness, cannabis, and personal finance. Nicole holds a double undergraduate degree in Communications and Film studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, and post-graduate certificate in Corporate Communications from Seneca College. She currently lives in Hamilton Ontario with her spouse and her cat.