c/o Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, 199 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5L 1A9, (647) 496–4688

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2024

Autism Coalition Appreciates Budget Increase

Greater Clarity Needed on Service Targets

The Ontario Autism Coalition (OAC) extends its appreciation to the government of Ontario for 18% increase in funding for the Ontario Autism Program in the 2024 budget. While this is a positive step forward, the OAC also emphasizes the pressing need for other measures to address the needs of 50,000 chiuldren still waiting for core service.

The OAC is concerned about the budget’s explanation that the increase “will support the government’s commitment to enroll 20,000 children and youth in core services.” In Minister Parsa’s 2023 briefing binder (made public by the Canadian Press last year), as well as statements made to the OAC and to media, it seemed clear that the 20,000 target would be achieved using 2023 money. This appears to no longer be the case, and the OAC wants and explanation of why not.

There are more than 67,000 children and youth registered for the program1. Nearly 50,000 of them have no core funding. It was the OAC’s hope that any funding increase would improve this situation. We are very worried that this may no longer happen.

“We are grateful for the increase in the budget which shows their commitment to improving the program. After receiving clear statements from ministry bureaucrats about the inadequacy of the 2023 budget2, it’s troubling to see that we may have fallen short once again. We need greater clarity about how and when the government will get more kids into core services. We still have a long way to go to, and our families deserve full information in order to plan for their children’s future..”

The OAC requests a response to these concerns from the government. Greater transparency would continue the recent improvements in our collaborative working relationship.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Alina Cameron, President, (647) 496-4688
Bruce McIntosh, Director, (416) 451-8315
1 Just 20 per cent of kids in Ontario’s autism program got core therapy funding by the end of 2023 – The Trillium
2 Most kids with autism won’t get core therapy funding soon: Ontario ministry document | CBC News

#50KIsNotOK

The Ontario Autism Coalition is a non-profit Ontario corporation dedicated to advocacy and political action on behalf of people with autism.
www.ontarioautismcoalition.com