Ontario Government Working Toward Needs-Based Autism Program

Published on July 29, 2019

Ontario is continuing to listen to families of children with autism and the Autism Advisory Panel to support families in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke with the goal of helping as many children as possible.

Today, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, announced steps the 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.

“It’s important to move forward and provide more families the support and services they need as soon as possible,” said John Yakabuski, MPP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. “I look forward to hearing the recommendations put forward by the panel.”

“As a result of listening to families, service providers and advocates across Ontario in the past few weeks, it is clear we all share a goal to provide the best care and make a positive difference in the lives of children and families living with autism in Ontario,” said Smith.

“Our government is committed to ensuring that Ontario schools are safe and inclusive places for students with autism,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “We will work tirelessly with Ontario families, educators and school boards to achieve seamless transition and enhance school-based supports.”