Ministry Announcement: New Needs-Based Autism Program

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On December 17, 2019, the Ontario government announced the adoption of the Ontario Autism Panel’s key recommendations for a needs-based autism program.

The Hon. Todd Smith, Minister, Children, Community and Social Services, announced that the new needs-based program will begin its first phase in April 2020 followed by additional phases throughout 2020 and 2021. Families will have access to the following four service pathways in the new program:

  • Core services that include Applied Behaviour Analysis, speech language pathology, occupational therapy and mental health services
  • Foundational family services for all families in the program, to build their capacity to support their child’s learning and development
  • Early intervention and school readiness services to help young children access critical services when they will benefit most, and to prepare them to enter school
  • Urgent and complex needs services to support children and youth who are in service, or are waiting for service, and have significant and immediate needs
Minister Smith also accepted the panel’s recommendation for an implementation team and announced the creation of an Implementation Working Group to provide the government with input on a number of key design elements. Those elements include service caps and the transition of children into service.

All families on the waitlist who have not yet received a Childhood Budget will receive an invitation for interim one-time funding of either $5,000 or $20,000, depending on the age of their child, so they can begin purchasing services for their child.

For more information about this announcement, please read the Ministry’s press release. We encourage clients and families to continue to stay updated on what is happening with the Ministry via their website and speak with their service providers. We will also share information as it becomes available.

For information on community supports and services, please connect with CTN via our ACCESS team at 1-866-377-0286.