DURHAM: Today, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services announced steps the Ontario government is taking to provide continuity of service while giving the necessary time to work on the new program. These steps include:

  • Broadening the scope of the Autism Advisory Panel to develop recommendations for a new, needs-based and sustainable program. The panel is examining results from online surveys, telephone town halls and written submissions as well as considering relevant evidence, science and data to submit its advice for the end of summer. The ministry is aiming for implementation of a new program April 1, 2020.
  • Continuing services for families with existing behaviour plans. Families will then be able to renew their plan for a second extension of up to six months, at their current level of intensity, or less where clinically appropriate.
  • Continuing to issue childhood budgets as the government works toward its needs-based program.

As previously announced, Ontario is investing an additional $278 million in the province’s autism program, bringing the total amount of funding to $600 million annually.

“My motivation is to help every child with autism in Durham get the support they need,” said Lindsey Park, MPP Durham. “Today’s announcement reflects what I’ve been hearing from parents in Durham over the last many months – that we need to move towards an Ontario Autism Program that is needs-based to best support families in Durham.”

Image courtesy of InQuinte.