Hon. Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Dear Hon. Doug Ford,
Congratulations on winning your second majority government. I am writing on behalf of the over 53,000 children with autism waiting for access to life-changing therapy. I am also writing on behalf of their families and professionals in the field waiting to deliver support to these children.
We are calling on you to make the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) a priority. The waitlist has more than doubled since the redesign of the program. As a result of this delay, tens of thousands of children will not be able to live their best possible quality of life. Children with autism and their families are in crisis.
As our children become adults, the cost of supporting them will be exponentially greater because they did not have access to the supports that taught them functional skills.
As premier, you are in a position to effect change. The Ontario Autism Coalition requests significant revision to make the OAP truly needs-based. We call on you to take urgent action to implement our recommendations:
- Remove age caps. Each child is unique. Age has no bearing on the level of support a child requires.
- Redefine the role of the care coordinators. They should assist families on how to access supports and services, NOT determine the needs of the child. That is the responsibility of experienced clinicians.
- Allow entry to Core Services of the OAP for as many children as possible, as soon as possible! Scarcely any children have moved off the waitlist to access needs-based therapy since you entered office 4 years ago. Our families are in crisis. Our children will never reach their full potential if they are not able to access therapies immediately!
I write this open letter with sadness, but also with hope: hope that you will effect change, step up and support this community in crisis.
Angela Brandt, President,