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Ontario Takes Decisive Action to Help More Families with Autism

Posted in Talking Politics

Published on February 10, 2019 with No Comments

Will clear waitlist for autism services and provide direct financial supports for families of 23,000 children previously denied funding in Ontario Autism Program

The families of 23,000 children currently struggling on waitlists for the Ontario Autism Program will finally receive financial supports to help them afford autism services.

Ontario’s Government announced a widespread reform of the Ontario Autism Program designed to clear the unfair and punishing waitlist, and provide equality and sustainability to the program so that more families of children and youth with autism can receive service.

“Today, almost 3 out of every 4 children who require autism supports continue to be stranded on waitlists due to the cynicism and incompetence of the previous government,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.  “The parents of these children have told me they are feeling abandoned.  We cannot, in good conscience, continue treating these parents and children like lower-class citizens, so we are introducing reforms to provide them with the fairness and equality they deserve.”

Under the government’s proposed reforms, families may receive a Childhood Budget until their child turns 18. The amount of the budget will depend on the length of time a child will be in the program, with supports targeted to lower and middle-income families.  For example, a child entering the program at age two would be eligible to receive up to $140,000, while a child entering the program at age seven would receive up to $55,000. The reform is expected to clear 23,000 children off the autism waitlist within the next 18 months.

“I have heard from families across the province about their personal struggles, that the system is broken and their lack of confidence in how services are currently being delivered,” she added. “Our government is committed to helping families receive crucial supports and services faster and improving outcomes for children and youth with autism.”

Families will be able to choose to purchase the eligible services they value most, including behavioural services, from providers of their choice on a fee-for-service basis. Parents will have flexibility when it comes to how funds are allocated, translating into a greater impact in their child’s early years. A new framework will also be put in place to assist in navigating the system and support parents in making the best decision for their family.


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