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Press Release

Minister of Mean autism program ‘enhancements’ still leave parents adrift: OPSEU’s Thomas

Publication Date

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 12:30pm

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod’s attempts to undo the harm she is causing the families of children with autism is only delaying the inevitable.

Thomas called Thursday’s so-called “enhancements” to the Ford government’s autism program cuts an attempt to deflect the growing chorus of protests and outrage expressed by the families.

“If the Minister of Mean thinks she can buy parents’ silence by extending public treatment programs by a mere six months, she will be in for a big surprise,” said Thomas.

“These families are in a desperate situation, they’re facing real financial hardship and are being pushed toward private treatment providers they can’t afford. This is shameful and unacceptable.”

Thomas says the government’s half-hearted olive branch won’t help families who are unable to foot the bill to pay for private treatment, in some cases the pricetag is tens of thousands of dollars every year.

“The families aren’t going to be fooled by empty Tory talking points,” said Thomas. “They need the proven and reliable public autism programs and the dedicated frontline experts who make them work.”

Thomas also says it speaks volumes that MacLeod ran out of her news conference, avoiding answering media questions that the families of children with autism desperately want answers to.

“Families are suffering and professionals are being laid off as a result of the Minister of Mean’s cuts,” said Thomas.  “But when the media calls her on it, her response is to storm away in a rage because she isn’t capable of defending the indefensible.”

“I guess you can’t expect much from a government that believes that hardship creates resiliency, but Lisa ‘Storm Cloud’ is about as welcome as a rainy day to the families suffering because of her decisions.  She’s unfit to serve in cabinet and should be immediately booted to the backbenches.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931