QUEEN’S PARK — Thousands of children with autism are languishing on the waitlist as funding for the Ontario Autism Program childhood budgets has not been released, said Monique Taylor, NDP critic for Children and Youth Services.
Tackling the wait list was Ford's excuse for sweeping and painful changes to the Ontario Autism Program which devastate children with the greatest need, and give every child with autism less support.
“To date, not one family in Ontario has received their childhood budget, and not one child has come off the waitlist since last summer," said Taylor. "Many were told to wait for April 1. That date has come and gone, and children with autism are still not getting the help they need and deserve."
The Ford government froze intake for the Ontario Autism Program in the fall of 2018. Waitlisted children have not been accepted into the program for over six months because of Ford's ongoing funding freeze, and families have not received new information about when they can expect funding. Taylor said that it was unclear if the delay in providing childhood budgets is a deliberate cost-saving strategy or a consequence of poor program design and planning.
“This government’s reckless rollout of their autism program has left parents and children waiting longer,” said Taylor. “Families feel like they have been shifted from a Liberal waitlist to a Conservative one, with no end in sight.”