To Tax or Not to Tax/Insurance covered or not – those are the questions


I was recently told by a retailer that she charges tax on mastectomy bras, when I questioned it, she said that as far as she knew only the prosthesis was tax exempt.

Well, I can tell you all that I have letters from both the Ontario Government and the Federal Government confirming that mastectomy bras are not taxable.

They are RST exempt, and GST/HST zero-rated. Therefore – no tax should be charged.

So, if you are a retailer you can rest assured that you should NOT be charging any tax on mastectomy bras or breast prostheses. And if you are a customer, you should not be paying any tax. Wow, the Government does actually give us a break. Well done Ministers for recognizing that we breast cancer survivors need all the help we can get.

According to the Officer I spoke to at the HST interpretation office, he said he was sure that mastectomy swimsuits are also zero-rated, in fact anything that is made to assist you in the wearing of a prosthesis is zero-rated. So I’m thinking that means anything that is made with a pocket.

If you are charged tax and believe that it should be non-taxable you can call 1-800-959-8287 to get it verified.


Now, on the subject of private insurance companies, and whether they cover the cost of mastectomy bras, swimsuits and prostheses (silicone or non-silicone). This is a mixed bag because some do and some don’t. One of my customers recently purchased a Been-A-Boob and some of my bras. Her husband called and told me that their Insurance Company Green Shield, covered the bras – no problem – but questioned the B-A-B. After a big discussion with them about why they were questioning a claim for under $100 for a non-silicone prosthesis and yet wouldn’t question a claim for $200 for a silicone one, the representative finally agreed to cover the $100. They just asked for a prescription from the doctor and a copy of the receipt from the retailer.

So if your insurance company just says, “we only cover silicone prosthesis” stick to your guns and tell them that you should be able to decide which prosthesis you want to wear. I’m a bit cynical, and do believe that Insurance companies will try and get out of paying out if they can. So be assertive!

Do bear in mind that you are generally only allowed to claim one prosthesis every 2 years. I have also heard that they may ask you to apply to the provincial agency were you reside (ADP in the case of Ontario customers) then when (if) they reject your claim, then they will cover it. But make sure you fight for your rights, once you have done it and got it covered, keep the information so that next time you claim you have backup for previous coverage.

Until next time.


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Mac Warriors Cancer Rehabilitation Services

My friend Jen Beck is involved in a wonderful service offered at MacMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and sent me the details to share.  It is called Mac Warriors Cancer Rehabilitation Services, click MacWarriors to read more about it.  There is also a Mac Warriors Brochure (2) and a website. So if you know of anyone who is going through, or has gone through cancer treatment and needs help in their rehabilitation, please forward this information to them.

If you know of any amazing programmes, services or organizations that will help cancer patients please let me know so I can help promote them.

As always, I am available if you ever want to talk or rant. Please feel free to contact me.




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Spring is in the air – I hope!

Well, it’s been a long time since I wrote a blog, October 2014 to be precise. So much has happened in my life and I’m sure it has in yours. A quick review…

At the end of October I went to Sarasota with my dragonboat team, Knot-A-Breast, to participate in the International Breast Cancer Paddling Commission (IBCPC) Participatory Dragon Boat Festival. There were over 100 teams from around the world at the event. And a great time was had by all. We were very happy when our team won the event racing a time of 2.25.91 mins. and our other team won their division coming in at  2.56.21 mins. However,  it wasn’t the winning that counted, it was being amongst over 3000 other breast cancer survivors that was the main reason for the event. It did my heart good to see all the women and their friends and families enjoying life – and the Florida sunshine!

Two friends and I stayed in Florida and went to Fort Myers Beach for a week – boy did we have a great time there. We went on one of those air boats in the everglades and saw quite a few gators! Sat on the beach, went for walks, and generally relaxed. After the excitement of the event it was great to just wind down – and we didn’t even paddle, we just went to support and enjoy.

Before I knew it Christmas was upon me, it’s always special with friends and family. New Years’ Eve was spent dancing and socializing – my speciality – LOL! January saw John and I over in England for his Mums 92nd birthday celebration. She’s an amazing woman, she’s been a breast cancer survivor for 49 years, my inspiration for sure.

Obviously, this blog is more personal than usual but I do have some important information to share about a programme at MacMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. I’m doing a separate blog to give you the information. Please check it out.

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Tree tops

Tree tops

Last weekend some girlfriends and I went to Mary Lake in Port Sydney, Ontario for some R & R. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, there were even people swimming in the lake. This is the 5th year we have been away, always the same weekend, and sometimes we have even had snow! Last year and this year the weather was beautiful. Good weather is always a bonus.

On Friday we headed off to Algonquin Park to have a hike and check out the fall colours. Little did we know that we would end up lost in the forest and wondering if we would make it back to base before dark. We set off on “Beetle Trail” next to Algonquin Outfitters near Oxtongue Lake. It was 5km, moderate in terrain and clearly marked – or so the young man in the store said. We started off enjoying the walk, and our surroundings, looking for wildlife, joking that we hoped we would see a moose, but not a bear. We did find lots of puddles and mud that stretched right across the trail. I nearly lost my shoe, and had to continue with a wet and muddy foot  (the shoes ended up in the garbage as the sole came away, I guess I was due for a new pair.)

After 2 hours of walking, realizing that we couldn’t find any trail signs but did find a few dead ends, we began to feel “lost”.

Cell phones are wonderful devices, right? if you have a phone you will never be lost, right? wrong! Unfortunately, the 2 phones that we had couldn’t get a signal. Then we did start to worry, although we knew we could probably retrace our steps, which would take us at least another 2 hours, as long as we didn’t go wrong.

We finally ended up in a gravel pit and one of the girls managed to find an area of about 6ft square where she could get a signal. We googled Algonquin Outfitters and called them. We told them of our situation, and they said we had the wrong store and gave us the number of another store. We found paper and pen and wrote down the number, and called it. We again explained our situation, getting more and more frantic thinking that the  phone might die any minute. They then said “you want the store at Oxtongue Lake” who knew there would be so many Algonquin Outfitter stores in one area – we didn’t! Finally, we called the store that we had been in earlier. By now, I was talking fast (didn’t want the phone to die) I explained we were in the gravel pit, and could someone come and rescue us? Gordon said he knew where we were and that we weren’t very far and he could tell us how to get back. We all yelled “NO” and I said we were 6 ladies from the city who didn’t have a clue, we were all cancer survivors and extremely stressed (of course, the girls had a fit of the giggles when they heard me say that, even though the cancer bit was true) I said if you don’t come and get us we were going to call 911. I think he heard the desperation in my voice because he very patiently told us to sit down, relax, drink some water and he would come and get us. I think I missed my calling, I could have been an actress!

20 minutes later he showed up, much to our relief. We all cheered and thanked him for coming. He led us down a trail, which in our opinion didn’t look like a trail, it just looked like a big forest, but he showed us these tiny blue plastic signs that had a hiker on – apparently you are supposed to follow them, even though they are up on the trees, and, like most people, I’m sure, we were looking down at our feet to make sure we didn’t step in a puddle, a loose rock or in a hole. We had to cross several streams balancing on rocks, and went up and down hills. We knew we would never have found our way back ourselves.

On the way back he said a lot of people get lost and agreed that the signage wasn’t very good. I asked him what happened to those who got lost, and never made it back, and that maybe he should keep looking for them or

their bones. He sort of laughed.

Needless to say we got back safely, we drove further into the park and enjoyed the fall colours, then we turned round, went back to the cottage and drank a bottle of wine!

I don’t often use the “cancer card” but sometimes it does come in handy!

On the right trail for a while

On the right trail for a while

Beautiful nature view

Beautiful nature view

Waiting to be rescued in the gravel pit - hey that looks like a frog, good job it's not a bear.

Waiting to be rescued in the gravel pit – hey that looks like a frog, good job it’s not a bear.

Muddy shoes

Muddy shoes

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Spreading the word

Well, I hardly know where to start. We now have 5 new retailers, including one in Mexico, a US sales rep., and a joint competition with Jamu Australia.  I just had 2 phone calls from ladies who saw me on the Dragons’ Den re-run, free publicity – gotta luv it!

I am very excited about where we are taking janac this year.

The My Girls Skin Cream is continuing to sell very well, it is gradually being picked up by our many retailers and you can also buy it on-line through my website.

The e-commerce company CureDiva based in the US has us on their website and the orders are flowing in. This is a new company and they are doing phenomenal, please check them out.

Biofemme in Guadalajara is a beautiful store – at least it looks like it on the website, one day I hope to go and visit. Alma is the owner and thankfully speaks and writes perfect English. I called her store and it was fine if Alma picked up the phone but a couple of times she wasn’t there and I had to finally hang up because her assistants don’t speak English and I’m afraid I don’t speak Spanish so the conversation was very strange, with both of us laughing because we couldn’t understand each other. Thank goodness she has a great import broker who helped with all the paperwork to get the order to Mexico, because it was quite a challenge.

The Fitting Room has just opened in Sarnia, Ontario. The owner Christina Yurchuk is very excited to be starting her own business, and is looking forward to serving the ladies in the area. I know she will be well supported (scuse the pun) because the area was well under serviced for mastectomy wear. The address is 546 N. Christina St, Suite 402a. Phone:  (519) 384-2880

Total Bliss Spa  is now selling My Girls Skin Cream. They are located at 102-5660 176A Street, Cloverdale, BC (604) 372-2728

Ideal Wellness Clinic owned by Dawn Hayward in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, sells TAB bras and the Been-A-Boobs. Phone: (306) 320-7887.

Please go to my facebook page and “like” it, we are putting lots of information that I hope you will be interested in. Once we get the details, you will be able to link to the Jamu competition and have a chance to win a wonderful jamu swimsuit and a Been-A-Boob. Competition runs between May 23-29th so do it quick!

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Woohoo, janac mastectomy wear has been in business for 10 years.

Who knew, all those years ago, that the unique Been-A-Boob would become so popular. The design has evolved so much over the years, that I shake my head when I think of the original design. It was a simple concept, round shape, 2 pieces of fabric filled with beads I bought from Michaels craft store. In the first years I doubled my sales every year. It astounded me that so many women were eager to try something new. The response that most women gave me was that they were either; not happy with the silicone prostheses because they were hot and heavy, or that they were looking for something to wear as an alternative when they were sleeping, just relaxing or swimming.

As I said, the design has evolved, and the reason for that is because I kept feeling that it needed to improve for 2 reasons. One, you could see the beads if it was worn inside a tight bra, such as the sports bras that I produced, so that wasn’t good. Second, I felt that it wasn’t totally comfortable against the chest if the area was sensitive.  So, I found a company that sold plastic beads and went on a scouting mission to find the perfect bead. The young man who helped me was as excited as I was when we found it. He had been getting samples from the plant, putting them in little plastic bags and bringing them to me to “feel”. We must have looked funny, sitting there feeling those bags of beads, hoping they felt like boobs! The best ones we found were smooth, small and uniform in size, just perfect. We high-5’d each other and grinned from ear to ear.

I then set about trying to find a way to make the beads less visible. I started by adding more layers of fabric, and ended up by having 4 layers, and putting the beads between layers 3 and 4. If you placed the Been-A-Boob with the 3 layers facing away from the body, you could no longer see the beads through the bra – success! I also added a cover which gave it another layer.

I sold this design for many years until I again thought there was a better way of making them feel even more comfortable. For some reason, a few years ago there was a marketing push on travel pillows, which made them sell like hot cakes. When I was in a store and felt one of these pillows, I knew I needed to incorporate these beads in the Been-A-Boob to help make them soft. I figured if we put the micro-beads, which weighed virtually nothing, in with the beads we were using, then not only should they be lighter but also softer. We tried mixing the 2 types of beads, but although it did make them lighter, it didn’t make them softer. So, I then tried putting the micro-beads between the outer layers and the bigger heavier beads in the between the middle layers – EUREKA, we finally had the PERFECT BEEN-A-BOOB. It is softer and lighter and the best version yet.

We do offer some Ultralight styles with only micro-beads. They are virtually weightless so we recommend them for post-surgery and for night wear. Definitely not for swimming because they will float, and we don’t want anyone’s boobs floating in the pool!

Now all styles and shapes either have both types of beads or just the micro-beads.

So that’s the story of the evolution of the Been-A-Boob.

Now to celebrate the 10 year anniversary I am making an offer you can’t refuse, check out the latest newsletter to find the coupon (if you haven’t signed up to receive one, go to my website and click on current newsletter – on the right under “Become a Preferred Customer”)

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Breast Cancer Yoga

Yoga has always been a wonderful exercise to stay in shape and supple. If you have had breast cancer surgery you know how tight the chest and underarm areas are. Click here to check out this article & video from Breast Cancer Yoga.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Event March 5th 2014

Yolanda Brooks of Sil vous plait Events is hosting an evening in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness. It is on Wednesday March 5th 2014 at Ivy Bar & Kitchen, in Burlington, Ontario. The event is a Soiree & Fashion Show, tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

The event is raising money for Rethink Breast Cancer & the CBCF, which are both worthy causes.

If you purchase tickets through Dancescape in Burlington  Tel.: (905) 633-8808 some of the money will go to my Knot-A-Breast dragonboat team.

This is a win win situation for everyone, a fun evening out and raising funds to boot!

Sil vous plait Events

Sil vous plait Events

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KAB Concert February 22nd 2014

My breast cancer survivor dragonboat team, Knot-A-Breast is holding a very special concert on February 22nd 2014. The performers are Kevin Ernst (a fabulous singer from Waterdown, Ont) Four Over Forty (Acapella group) Nikki Loney and Bianca. It is a lively, entertaining and worthwhile evening out.

The concert is being held at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church, 662 Guelph Line, Burlington at 7p.m. Tickets are $20 and all proceeds are going the the team.

You can call me for tickets 905-332-7576/866-290-0821 or get them at the door. I’ve attached the poster (even though it says Draft, it is actually the final poster). I hope you can come and support us. I look forward to seeing you there.KAB Concert Poster FEB 22 2014

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Petitioning the Ministry of Health

I recently sent out a newsletter asking for help with a petition, if you follow my blog and also get a newsletter I apologize for doing it twice, but it is sssooooooo important. Here it is….

It’s a new year and already I’m asking a favour of you. I have been very frustrated over the years with the issue of ADP not covering the Been-A-Boob and I know, if you live in Ontario, you have the same issue. In fact, it’s not just the B-A-B that they won’t cover, it’s ANY breast prosthesis that isn’t made of silicone. 

Even if you don’t live in Ontario you can sign the petition in support of the breast cancer survivors in Ontario.

Anyway, I contacted my MPP Jane McKenna and she is on board with helping us to “encourage” the Ministry of Health to change the policy that ADP adheres to.
To help with the situation I have started a petition so the Minister of Health can see how many of us want to make our own a decisions when it comes to which prosthesis we want to wear, and we shouldn’t be penalized by not getting the grant to help cover the cost. 
The money has been allocated to help us with the expense of going through breast cancer and we should ALL have access to it.
Unfortunately, the way petitions work is that the Government won’t accept any photocopies or e-mailed signatures. They also won’t accept sheets of signatures without the details of the petition at the top.  Therefore, the favour I have to ask you is if you would print copies of the petition get as many signatures as possible and mail it to me, don’t forget to ask all your friends to sign in support of you and all Ontario breast cancer survivors, the more “original” signatures we can get the better.
If you don’t have a printer and would like me to mail you copies, please let me know how many copies you would like.
Mail the petition to:
1396 Royal Drive, Burlington, ON L7P 2G9
The Canadian Cancer Society produces an annual report, included is the estimated number of breast cancer diagnoses. In 2013 the number was 9,300. The mortality rate is going down, thankfully. That means there are more survivors out there, many of which are having to buy a breast prosthesis.
If the ADP policy can be changed to include ANY prosthesis then thousands of woman can be helped.
All they need to do is eliminate the word “silicone” from the policy.
I hope you will take the time to help with this cause, I realize it will cost you to print the petition and then send it to me, but I hope you feel it will be worth it.
I am going to put this on my blog and Facebook page too. The more people I can reach to get involved, the better.
Thanks for your time.
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