Like many of you, we are eagerly anticipating an announcement from the Provincial Government about plans for the new Ontario Autism Program. We are hopeful Minister Todd Smith fully supports the recommendations in The Ontario Autism Advisory Panel Report and immediately begins to implement all recommendations for families living in Northern Ontario.
We continue to urge Minister Smith to honour the Advisory Panel’s recommendations for our families specifically: ensuring access to services in their home community, those services are delivered by qualified professionals, they are culturally inclusive and in their chosen language. Each day service capacity that took decades to build decreases. Without stable funding and specific direction from the Ontario Government, the rebuilding of capacity in the North will take even longer, leaving families in remote areas with a lack of access to the talent and services that they desperately need. It is urgent that policies that compensate travel costs, leverage existing technologies to increase access, and investments in building capacity are in place.
We also look forward to the announcement from Minister Smith identifying the Implementation Committee. We anticipate that several members will be from the North so that we can implement a true Northern Strategy that meets the unique needs of our families.
CCR is ready to work with our families and our partners to ensure that the Advisory Panel’s recommendations are implemented so that the new Ontario Autism Program provides families in the North with the access to the talent and services that you deserve.
With respect and gratitude,
Child & Community Resources