QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement after speaking with advocates from the Ontario Autism Coalition about the government’s failure to provide affordable and accessible services for children with autism.
“It is completely unacceptable that children with autism are waiting for years to receive access to essential therapies while the government refuses to even acknowledge or meet with families struggling for access to autism supports and services.
Since the Premier has come into office, the number of children with autism waiting to receive core services has more than doubled, with over 60,000 children on the waiting list.
This government’s insistence that they have built a “world-leading program” is completely out of touch with the reality of tens of thousands of families in Ontario.
Meanwhile, the Financial Accountability Office just reported last week that the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services underspent by $458 million in the first three quarters of 2022-23. It’s disgraceful.
Over and over, this government has failed these families. They cannot continue to wait. Ontario has a duty to invest in a better future for children with autism through meaningful, long-term investment in the Ontario Autism Program.
I call on the government to develop an effective program that implements the much-needed solutions already proposed by the Ontario Autism Coalition, including:
- Prioritizing clearing the OAP waitlist
- Removing funding decreases for children at ages 10 and 14
- Creating a robust plan to ensure availability and accessibility of services
- Making information about intake targets and deliverables transparent and available to the public.”