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Ontario rethinking transition to new autism program: minister

Parents of children with autism protest at Queen's Park in Toronto on June 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ontario’s minister of children and youth services says she will have soon have more details on ways the government is rethinking the implementation of a controversial new autism program.

The Liberal government has decided, as part of a new Ontario Autism Program to fully roll out in 2018, to stopped funding intensive behavioural intervention for kids five and older, instead transitioning them to “enhanced Applied Behavioural Analysis” treatment.

In the meantime, families of the 835 children removed from the wait list were given $8,000 to pay for private treatment, but parents say that will only pay for, at most, a few months of intensive therapy.

The changes have angered parents, whose children spent years on the IBI waiting list, only to be abruptly removed.

As dozens of parents protested on the lawn of the legislature today, Children and Youth Services Minister Tracy MacCharles said inside that the government is looking at its options, whether that means providing more funding to those parents or “other services.”

When asked later what specific changes the government was considering, MacCharles said she would have more details soon.