PC leader attacks Ontario government policy on children with autism

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader says the government has deceived the parents seeking medical treatment for their children dealing with autism.

During Question Period, on Thursday, PC leader Patrick Brown referred to an article published by The Toronto Star. In it, Brown said, the Star pointed that last spring Ontario’s Liberal government cut the funding for children (aged five and up) who were promised treatment for their autism.

An expert committee, the report said, even warned the Kathleen Wynne government that their plan could have serious consequences on the children seeking the intensive behavioural intervention (IBI).

Brown expressed his frustration during Thursday’s questioning period.

“How could this government turn their backs on these vulnerable children and their families?” Brown asked the acting premier, Deborah Matthews. “How could they look them in the face and blatantly lie to them?”

The province’s Minister of Children and Youth Services, Michael Coteau, responded to Brown’s question.

“What we’re trying to do here as a government is to establish a new program here in Ontario that will open up 16,000 new spots,” Coteau said. “Mr. Speaker, we’ve dedicated half a billion dollars over the five years to transition into a new program.”

Coteau added that by June of 2017 a new system will allow children with autism to be diagnosed early. In addition to creating new spots, he said, a 1-800 number will also be set up to help people get information on any changes occurring in the program.