HAMILTON — The Ford government announced Monday it won’t increase the funding envelope for the Ontario Autism Program, and won’t have a long-awaited replacement program until fall.
“Families and children were devastated by Doug Ford’s callous cuts to the Ontario Autism Program,” said the NDP critic for Children and Youth, Monique Taylor. “Over a year later, they’re still waiting, while their children have week after week of critical developmental potential stolen away from them. Now, they’re waiting at least until the fall — and who knows if they’ll get the support they need, then.”
Minister Todd Smith said Monday the funding envelope will remain at $600 million – the same funding ceiling Minister Lisa MacLeod set. In April, MacLeod said “We’ve heard from parents and we want to take the time to listen very carefully to their best advice on a needs-based system,” but, four months later, families are still waiting with no changes to the amount of care and support children can access.
“Doug Ford and almost every PC MPP spent months defending their cuts to the autism program, lying about the wait lists, and attacking those who didn’t agree with them. Their tone has changed a little, but can families trust them this time?” Taylor asked.
“Andrea Horwath and the NDP are going to keep fighting for a needs-based and evidence-backed program that doesn’t cut children off based on their age or arbitrary budget caps. Parents don’t give up on their kids — neither should we.”