Liberal Government’s Autism Strategy a Cheap Way to Score Political Points

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition
For Immediate Release
April 5, 2016

(QUEEN’S PARK) – Days before World Autism Awareness Day, Ontario’s Liberal Government announced the details of their autism strategy. The announcement has sparked widespread public outcry from affected families due to a number of concerning details.

The Government is eliminating Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) for children five years and older. As a result, over 2,000 children who are presently on the waiting list will no longer be eligible for therapy.

“I understand the government wants to reduce wait times for autism treatments but their solution is to kick children off the wait list. Really?” said Leader of the Official Opposition during Question Period. “This seems to be a pretty heartless way to score political points and tout shorter wait times.”

For those kicked off of the IBI waiting lists, private treatment is estimated to cost approximately $50,000 a year. The Liberal Government is only providing families with children 5 years and older on the waiting list a one-time payment of $8,000 to cover any costs of transitioning off the waiting list.  After years of paperwork, assessments and waitlists, many families feel they have nowhere to turn.

While the Government has terminated IBI treatment for those five and above, they haven’t announced any strategy for the affected children. The fact remains that children over five still have special needs the province must address, and the waitlist for a less-intensive form of therapy, ABA (applied behavioural analysis), is approximately 14,000 children.

“The government said ‘the cost of inaction was too high,’” added Brown. “Is that what they’re telling parents of autistic children who say that they now have to pay $50,000 a year for private treatment?”