A wheelchair-accessible vehicle is a vehicle that has been modified so that individuals in wheelchairs can get in and out of the vehicle without having to get out of the chair. When looking to convert your van, there are many things to consider and be aware of.
Firstly, there are many different funding avenues, as well as rebates, that you can access through agencies, dealerships and Revenue Canada. It is important to explore all funding avenues prior to your purchase of a van conversion as it can be quite expensive.
Second, once you have decided to go through with the conversion, you need to locate a mobility equipment dealer who will be responsible for the conversion once the vehicle is purchased.
Thirdly, it is time for purchase or inspection of the van that will be converted. At this point, you can buy a van that has been previously converted through the mobility vendor, purchase a new or used van that has not been converted, or have your previously-owned van inspected and approved for conversion.
Lastly, after the conversion is complete the last step is to receive specialized training on how to operate the lifts and restraints. If the van is being converted in order for an individual in a wheelchair to drive, you must consult with a certified Rehabilitation Specialist to get proper driver training. Below are a list and brief descriptions of mobility equipment dealers, funding resources, and other information that relates to vehicle conversions.
Wheelchair Van Resources
MoveMobility’s mission is to provide people with disabilities the freedom and opportunity to travel with our specialized automotive mobility equipment and vehicles.
Sidewinder specializes in mobility products for the physically challenged. We cover all major mobility commodities from hand controls and wheelchair vans, wheelchair/scooter lifts, and power seat bases just to name a few.
The classifieds section of the SCI AB website provides a location for individuals looking to buy or sell wheelchair accessible vehicles and vehicle parts.
Funding Resources for Van Conversions
Our organization funds expenses directly benefiting individuals with cerebral palsy and similar neuromotor disabilities.
Funding requests may relate to recreational programs, specially adapted recreational equipment such as bicycles and skis, or other items to enhance or aid in day-to-day living such as touch screen computers and commodes.
We are hoping to expand this program to recruit community partners to assist with minor home renovations in order to increase accessibility and independence for our members.
Easter Seals provides funding for equipment for individuals with a disability. When applying for funding through Easter Seals for a van conversion, you must fill in the attached form as well as provide a letter from your physician indicating your disability and recommendation for the equipment.
In order to apply for funding through the Cerebral Palsy Association you must meet the following requirements: persons applying for funding must have been a CPAA member for at least three months prior to submitting an application, and the requested funds must be of direct support to a person(s) who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. If the purchase has already been completed, receipts in full must be provided to CPAA for all equipment, service(s), program(s), and/or item(s). The CPAA funds up to 750.00 towards Accessible Van Conversions.
The Children’s Ability Fund provides funding for specialized equipment that helps to increase the everyday independence of persons with disabilities. Their funding is directed towards three basic areas including individuals, groups and community partnerships. Funding applications may be made for equipment such as mobility devices, communication devices, computer assistive devices, and others. Specific criteria on how funding applications will be evaluated are outlined on the website under the what we do for individuals section.
The equipment program provides funding to their clients to aid in obtaining a wide range of devices to aid with mobility, breathing, sitting and positioning, accessibility, communications, and sleeping. The criteria required to apply for this funding includes a maximum $6,000 per item, a client minimum contribution of $200, equipment must cost more than $200, and you must be a registered client of Muscular Dystrophy Canada. All funding requests must include a completed application form, quotes from two different equipment vendors, and a signed equipment prescription from the appropriate licensed health care professional. Canada Safeway and Muscular Dystrophy Canada have teamed up to offer the Safeway Mobility Grant, which provides funds to registered clients to assist with purchasing medically necessary mobility equipment.
Offers financial support for educational and recreational activities for people under the age of 21. Helps provide basic necessities such as clothing and medical needs. Call for more information.
The Calgary Foundation builds and administers permanent endowment funds to support the long-term growth and well-being of the community. The Watson Family Fund specifically provides financial assistance to families caring for their children with special needs. It is intended that the fund will provide immediate one-time (or possible long term) financial assistance to help improve and sustain the quality of life for the child and his/her family.
Contact: Teresa Schwartz
Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre of Calgary
Alberta Children’s Hospital - Special Children’s Fund
This fund is generously provided via a donor-supported trust, and is managed by the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. It is used to help meet instrumental needs as well as medical and clinical interventions for children (and their families) when guardians are experiencing financial hardship. Requests must come through an Alberta Children’s Hospital Social Worker or staff person who will assess and determine the families needs. The child must be a current patient or active recipient of care at ACH through its clinics and service areas. Supports offered through this fund must relate to the child’s medical situation and are meant to support families in the short term.
Catherine Morrison, Supervisor
Family Community Resource Centre
Government of Canada- Revenue Agency
1. Payments to adapt a vehicle (that are prescribed by a medical practitioner) used to transport a person with a disability
2. Payments for a device (as prescribed by a medical practitioner) that enables an individual with a mobility impairment to operate a vehicle
3. Coverage of 20% of payments for a van that has been previously adapted, or is adapted upon purchase or within six months of the date of purchase (minus the cost of adapting the van as prescribed by a medical practitioner) to transport an individual who needs the use of a wheelchair, to a limit of $5,000.
Canadian Federal Income tax
Guide to Government of Canada Services for People with Disabilities Transportation and Travel, Federal Gasoline Tax Refund Program If you cannot safely use public transportation because of a permanent disability, you can apply for a partial refund of the federal excise tax on gasoline purchased. You must have a medical certificate confirming your disability.
To get the forms you need, click on www.cra.gc.ca/forms - Transportation for People with Physical Disabilities. A refund of Retail Sales Tax (RST) that you have paid is available on certain new or used licensed motor vehicles purchased or leased on a long-term basis (12 months or longer) for the purpose of transporting a person with a permanent physical disability. At the time the motor vehicle is bought and a refund application filed, the purchaser must be:
a person with a permanent physical disability who bought the vehicle for their own transportation
a member of the family or the same-sex partner of a person with a permanent physical disability
a principal caregiver, if the person with the permanent physical disability does not have a member of the family who is willing and able to provide transportation for that person, or
a religious, charitable or non-profit organization that purchased the vehicle to transport people with permanent physical disabilities.
How to apply for funding through a service group:
Please explain who you are, where you live and how you may be contacted
Please explain what the child’s disability is and how it affects the child as well as the family’s day-to-day living
Please explain the financial circumstances and need for the funding
What are the costs of the item/therapy and how will it change the child’s life, as well as your day-to-day living.
Please assemble the information and you can email or mail it to your local club.
The listing enclosed gives a contact name and number as well as the address and email address. The service clubs generally meet once a month, but you may phone them directly to see when their next meeting may be.
Shriners Hospitals across North America offer specialized orthopaedic and burn care to children under 18 free of charge. They offer assistance to children with cerebral palsy, burns, muscular dystrophy, and spinal bifida. They assist with things such as: specialized shoes, braces, prosthetics, and specialized bandages.
Variety Club's VISION is to enrich the lives of children with special needs by enabling them and their families. They are DEDICATED to providing much need assistance to those children, their families as well as the community by helping with one need at a time. This service club meets once a month.
There are rebates up to $1,000 for purchasing new Chrysler vehicles to be adapted. Please call Chrysler for their latest information.
Ford Mobility Plus Program
There are rebates up to $1,000 towards installation of adaptive driving aids in new Ford vehicles.
General Motors Mobility Program
There are rebates up to $1,000 for cost of adaptive equipment. Please phone GM for current information.
Toyota Mobility Program
There are rebates up to $1000 for the cost of installing adaptive driving aids or mobility assistance equipment.
Honda Mobility Program
There are rebates up to $1000 to each eligible original retail customer for expenses to purchase and install qualifying adaptive equipment