OPSEU’s Disability Rights Caucus (DRC) is calling on Premier Doug Ford and Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod to reverse government funding cuts to services for children with autism.
The DRC joined a rally on April 2 at MPP Ross Romano’s office in Sault Ste. Marie with numerous community partners to support persons with disabilities, including those with autism, and their families. April 2 is recognized as World Autism Awareness Day by the United Nations.
“It’s time for government to treat autism like any other health issue,” OPSEU President Warren “Smokey” Thomas wrote in a letter sent to MacLeod on April 3.
“Families of children with autism deserve fair access to treatment, no matter where they live or how much money they make.”
MacLeod and the Ford Government have restructured the previous funding formula for persons with autism into what is now called “The Children’s Budget” in a counterintuitive manner. Now children with autism no longer get full and equal access to funding, including for therapies like the Applied Behaviour Analysis and Intensive Behaviour Intervention.
“The new Childhood Budget is woefully inadequate in that it leaves many children with Autism, and the families who support them, to fall through the cracks in a broken system,” adds Rina Gulli, DRC representative at the rally.
Rally participants called on Ford and MacLeod to immediately restore full funding to provide children with autism access to services and support.