Ontario Takes Decisive Action to Help Oxford Families with Autism – Will clear wait list for autism services and provide direct financial supports for families of 23,000 children previously denied funding under the Ontario Autism Program

WOODSTOCK – Today, Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod announced changes that will bring relief to Oxford families who are currently stuck on a wait list for autism services.

“Autism hits close to home for every community across our province and Oxford is no exception. Our government’s plan ensures that no families will have to wait over two years to receive support for their children again,” said Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford. “I’ve heard many heartbreaking stories from Oxford families who have children with autism about that challenges they face. That is why it’s so important that these reforms to the Ontario Autism Program will bring fairness, equality, and sustainability to the program.”

Under the government’s proposed reforms, the wait list for funding will be cleared in 18 months. This will make the system more accountable and will guarantee that supports are there for families with the greatest need, now and well into the future. With these proposed changes, families may receive a Childhood Budget until their child turns 18. Supports will be targeted to lower and middle-income families. The amount of the budget will depend on the length of time a child will be in the program. For example, a child entering the program at age two would be eligible to receive up to $140,000, while a child entering the program at age seven would receive up to $55,000. These changes will ensure that every child will receive assistance, rather than just 25% of families who currently get support.

“The Ontario government invests $321 million dollars each year in autism supports that under the current system still leaves 3 out of 4 children behind,” said Hardeman. “That’s why it’s so important that we take action now to support more families with autism and provide a better system for children to thrive throughout Oxford and all of Ontario.”

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Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford