Please find the full open letter here.
QUEEN’S PARK — This afternoon, Mike Schreiner sent an open letter to the Premier calling on him to address the backlogged and failing Ontario Autism Program.
There are 49,000 families currently on the waitlist for urgent care for their children.
“More than two years ago you made a promise to Ontario families to reduce long wait times and give $100 million in new funding to help pay for expensive and necessary early intervention services for children diagnosed with autism,” Schreiner wrote.
Since that time, the waitlist has more than doubled and the government has capped the amount of funding that families can receive — limiting treatment for those without financial resources.
“For every day one of these 49,000 families sits on the waitlist, they are one day closer to missing a crucial window in helping their child’s development.”
Schreiner specifically called on the Premier to work with Minister of Long-Term Care to:
- Follow the recommendations from the Ontario Autism Program Advisory Panel for a needs-based system and remove the age-based cap on funding.
- Do more to increase the availability of spots, including incentivizing current college and university students to become certified clinicians.
- Provide funding so groups such as KidsAbility and other nonprofit treatment providers can add and retain more clinicians and therapists, in order to maintain and increase current treatment levels and shorten waitlist times.
“Premier, families cannot wait,” Schreiner concluded. “I’m asking you and the Minister of Long-Term Care to ease the minds of parents by investing in a better future for their children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and make fixing the Ontario Autism Program a top priority for this session of the legislature.”