Marked and Significant Restrictions

What are the differences between marked and significant restrictions?

The terms “marked restriction” and “significant restriction” are used by the CRA to measure the severity of an individual’s impact on one or more basic functions of daily living. Referring to differing levels of severity, individuals with either one “marked” and/or two “significant” restrictions will qualify for the DTC.

To qualify for the DTC, a person must have a physical and/or mental impairment that is severe and prolonged (existing for at least 12 months or expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months).

Difference between Marked and Significant RestrictionsMarked Restriction

The impairment must restrict one basic activity of daily living and must affect the person 90-100% of the time.

In the eyes of the CRA, a marked restriction means a person is either unable to or takes at least 3 times longer to perform at least one basic activity of daily living, even with the use of appropriate devices, medication, and therapy.

In other words, individuals who take 3x longer to manage one basic daily function such as walking, dressing, feeding, or elimination, the CRA will most likely consider this as a “marked restriction” and they will have a very strong case for the DTC.

Significant Restriction

However, if an individual suffers from impairments that are not severe enough to be classified as a “marked restriction,” they may still qualify under the “cumulative effect of significant restrictions” category. To qualify under this category a person must be “significantly restricted” in 2 or more basic activities of daily living – such as walking, dressing, elimination, feeding, mental functions, speaking, and life-sustaining therapy (insulin injecting).

The cumulative impairments of the two activities must together be equal to or great than being “markedly restricted” in one basic activity of daily living. The impairments of the two activities must exist all together 90-100% of the time to be considered to qualify for the DTC.

A rule of thumb for an activity to be classified as “significantly restricted” is that is take an individual at least 2x longer to manage the basic function. When a person’s impairments meet the criteria above, the CRA considers this a significant restriction and applicants may be eligible to qualify for the DTC.



Difference between Marked and Significant RestrictionsA 40-year-old person is impaired in walking, 95% of the time. This impairment has existed continuously for the last 8 years. They must walk with a cane, struggle severely with mobility, and take 4-5x longer to walk despite the devices used. This is considered a marked restriction.

A 50-year-old person is impaired in both walking and dressing, 90% of the time, and has been for the last 24 months. They do not use devices such as a cane or shoehorn to assist with these activities, however they are in constant pain and therefore must move at a slower pace. Daily, they take a longer to walk and to get dressed, taking an inordinate amount of time to complete both activities. This is considered a significant restriction as it is 2 basic activities of daily life added together.


To see a list of common disabilities/medical conditions that may qualify click here.


For more detailed information or to find out if you qualify for the DTC over the phone, Swift Disability has specialists available to answer all your questions.

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