Press Release-December 14, 2010
Autism Activists Skeptical About New Government Program
TORONTO, ON. Dec. 15, 2010.
The Ontario Autism Coalition says that although the provincial government’s announcement of a new $25 million program appears to be a positive development, it fails to address unresolved issues that are of great concern to members of the autism community.
OAC Vice-President Laura Kirby-McIntosh says that with this announcement, the McGuinty Government has unwittingly admitted that existing programs for individuals with autism lack comprehensiveness and require significant improvement.
“If children, students and adults with autism were getting all the help that they needed, then we wouldn’t need a new program,” she says.
“It’s clear that Premier McGuinty doesn’t want autism to be an election issue next year, and that he hopes this announcement will be enough to make it go away,” she added. “But the autism community won’t be fooled again. This government’s track record is very weak, and many members of our community have a real problem with trusting them.”
The lack of services for those living with autism in Ontario is well documented. The OAC has advocated for improvements since 2005 through rallies, media campaigns, and meetings with government officials. The OAC submitted a detailed Recommendations Report to the Minister of Children and Youth Services last June, but has yet to receive a formal response from the government. They have also called upon both the Minister of Children and Youth Services and the Minister of Education to appear at a Town Hall meeting on autism prior to the next election.
The OAC Recommendations report, entitled “No More Excuses,” calls for an end to waitlists, changes to the existing IBI funding model, regulation of IBI professionals, improved services in schools, and more.
“These new programs announced by the government may indeed benefit many families,” says Kirby-McIntosh. “For one thing, we’re happy to hear that those with Asperger’s will finally qualify for some services. But the problems we’ve identified as priorities are still out there. They’re not going away, and neither are we.”
For more information, visit www.ontarioautismcoalition.com
For interviews, contact:
Bruce McIntosh, 905-761-5226 Laura Kirby-McIntosh, 647-457-5226
Susan’s Fentie-Pearce, 416-795-9829