As the new Ontario Autism Program (OAP) moves closer to full implementation, our top priority remains: to provide families in the North with access to the talented professionals and the quality autism services that you deserve.

In 2020 the Northern Collaborative was established, and Northern Capacity Building Advisory Committees were formed in the districts of Kenora/Rainy River, Thunder Bay, Algoma, and Sudbury-Manitoulin. Each committee is comprised of parents and professionals who have worked together to identify opportunities and develop strategies to build professional capacity across the North Region of Ontario.

The newly released Northern Capacity Building Project Accomplishments and Opportunities: 2020-2021 Fiscal Year Report finds that there is still more work to do, particularly by providing funding and support to recruit, train, and retain professionals. This is essential to ensuring the system of providers in the North will be ready to provide these critical services when the new OAP begins.

The lessons we learned over the past year extended beyond the goals and outcomes established in the Report. Specifically, the North must move forward with careful attention and planning for each district and each community. We also learned that while virtual services are extremely valuable,they do not replace the importance of in-person services, delivered by professionals in your family’s home community.

This past year has confirmed that a long-term and sustainable capacity-building plan must be in place for years to come.

We are pleased to announce that this important work will continue as the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services approved additional funding for two years to support our collective effort to build capacity. For the next two years, funds will be dedicated to supporting Northern providers with capacity-building grants to do everything possible to ensure families have access to service providers in their home community.

Thank you to all Capacity Building Advisory Committee members and Northern Collaborative partners for their commitment, innovation, and support in implementing this massive project. Thank you to our families for your patience throughout this extremely challenging time.

As we work to provide families in the North with access to quality services and talented professionals, we will continue to seek advice from parents and providers and give regular updates.

With respect and gratitude,

Sherry Fournier
Executive Director
Child & Community Resources