Will clear waitlist for autism services and provide direct financial supports for
families of 23,000 children previously denied funding in Ontario Autism Program
Elgin-Middlesex-London, February 6th, 2019 - Ontario's government for the people
is bringing relief to 23,000 children and their families who are currently languishing
on a waitlist for autism services.
In an announcement at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Parliamentary
Assistant Amy Fee and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod
outlined the widespread reforms to the Ontario Autism Program that will restore
fairness, equality, and sustainability to the program.
"The Ontario government invests $321 million dollars each year in autism supports
that under the current system leave 3 out of 4 children behind," said Macleod. "I
cannot in good conscience continue this Liberal plan that was more about politics
than the people it should be supporting."
Under the government's proposed reforms, the waitlist for funding will be cleared
in 18 months, people will be treated with fairness and equality, the system will
become more financially sustainable, make the system more accountable and to guarantee
that supports are there for families with the greatest need, now and well into the
With the proposed changes, families may receive a Childhood Budget until their child
turns 18. Supports will be targeted to lower and middle-income families. The amount
of the budget will depend on the length of time a child will be in the program.
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. These changes will ensure that every child will receive assistance,
rather than just 25% of families who currently receive support.
"Autism hits close to home for every community across our province and ours is no
exception. Our government's plan ensures that no families will have to wait over
two years to receive support for their children again," said Jeff Yurek, MPP, Elgin-Middlesex-London.
- To be eligible for the Ontario Autism Program, a child must have a diagnosis of
Autism Spectrum Disorder from a qualified professional. Families are eligible to
apply for program funding for children and youth up to age 18.
- Today, there are over 2,400 families waiting for a diagnostic assessment, and more
than 23,000 families waiting for behavioural services through the Ontario Autism
Program with demand continuing to grow.
- Evidence shows that children who receive behavioural intervention therapies between
two and five years of age have the best long-term outcomes.
Helping Families by Improving Access to Autism Services