Working Toward a New Needs-Based and Sustainable Autism Program in Vaughan-Woodbridge

Published on July 31, 2019

Ontario is continuing to listen to families of children with autism and the Autism Advisory Panel to support families in Vaughan-Woodbridge with the goal of helping as many children as possible.

Today, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, announced steps the government is taking to provide continuity of service while giving the necessary time to work on the new program. These steps include:

• Broadening the scope of the Autism Advisory Panel to develop recommendations for a new, needs-based and sustainable program. The panel is examining results from online surveys, telephone town halls and written submissions as well as considering relevant evidence, science and data to submit its advice for the end of summer. The ministry is aiming for implementation of a new program April 1, 2020.

• Continuing services for families with existing behaviour plans. Families will then be able to renew their plan for a second extension of up to six months, at their current level of intensity, or less where clinically appropriate.

• Continuing to issue childhood budgets as the government works toward its needs-based program.

As previously announced, Ontario is investing an additional $278 million in the province's autism program, bringing the total amount of funding to $600 million annually.

“I am delighted to have worked with families in Vaughan-Woodbridge on constructive ideas to bring about change in the Autism Program in order to provide the best possible assistance to the families and children living with autism.,” said Michael Tibollo, MPP Vaughan-Woodbridge. “Meeting with families, service providers, and advocates, and being able to speak with them one-on-one and at a roundtable gave me a greater understanding of the struggles, both financial and emotional, the families face daily.”

“As a result of listening to families, service providers and advocates across Ontario in the past few weeks, it is clear we all share a goal to provide the best care and make a positive difference in the lives of children and families living with autism in Ontario,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.

“Our government is committed to ensuring that Ontario schools are safe and inclusive places for students with autism,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “We will work tirelessly with Ontario families, educators and school boards to achieve seamless transition and enhance school-based supports.”