Council calls for changes to provincial autism policy

Tue, 31 May 2016

Oakville’s Town Council has unanimously voted in favour of a resolution calling on the Ontario government to improve policies aimed at supporting children with autism.

The moton was put forward by Mayor Rob Burton, and calls upon the provincial government to amend its current policy on Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) services. New provincial regulations would discontinue services to children over the age of four. This would effectively abandon 2000 children in Ontario currently on a waitlist to receive IBI services.

“Thousands of families have already been waitlisted for these effective and important services,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Council is standing alongside families in Oakville and across Ontario by reminding the Province that autism doesn’t end at five.”

The resolution requests that a letter be sent to the Ontario government calling upon the Province to make the following amendments to its Ontario Autism Program:

  1. Ensure families leaving the current IBI waitlist that the level of intervention their child needs will be provided through the transition and under the new delivery model;
  2. Ensure that all children are assessed equally for the level of intensive therapy they need regardless of age;
  3. Ensure oversight by professionals and parents based on ‘development progress’ criteria and milestones; and
  4. Consider a transitory Direct Funding Offering model to accompany the current Direct Service Offering Model.

The Mayor’s concern arose after speaking to concerned parents at Town Hall during a flag-raising ceremony in recognition of Autism Awareness Day, on April 2, 2016. It was seconded by newly-elected Ward 2 Council member Ray Chisholm.

“This resolution is part of a larger call for the government to address these concerns,” said Councillor Chisholm. “The Province has indicated it is willing to listen, and we hope it does on this issue.”