Loading articles...

Minister stands 'unapologetically' by autism program

Lisa MacLeod Ontario's Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, looks on during an announcement in Toronto on February 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ontario’s minister in charge of the autism program says she will “continue to stand unapologetically” for changes she is making to funding.

Lisa MacLeod announced Wednesday that funding will go directly to families instead of regional service providers, which she says will ensure that 23,000 kids currently on the wait list will get treatment.

But families and advocates say the amounts will not be enough to cover proper levels of therapy.

The funding is dependent on age, with families receiving a maximum of $140,000 for a child in treatment from the ages of two to 18, but advocates say intensive therapy can cost up to $80,000 per year.

MacLeod says she has compassion for the parents, as everyone wants the best for their child, but it was “cruel” that about one quarter of kids with autism in Ontario were receiving treatment while the rest were on a wait list.

The Ontario Autism Coalition, which protested Liberal policies in 2016 until they were rolled back, says it will fight changes to the program.