Premier Wynne Must Listen to Growing Movement Against Liberal Autism Changes: NDP

Thorold – Welland MPP Cindy Forster hosted a town hall meeting with Monique Taylor (Hamilton Mountain MPP), the Ontario NDP’s critic for Children and Youth Services, and Wayne Gates, MPP for the riding of Niagara Falls.

The public meeting included families of children with autism from the Niagara region, where they discussed the impact of the Liberal government’s proposed changes to autism services.

“Parents in the Niagara region, and parents across the province, are telling the Premier and the Liberal government to stop taking away essential therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are over the age of five,” Forster said. “Families are seeing their children being removed from the waiting list for essential IBI therapy after waiting months and years, as a result of the Wynne government’s changes to autism services in the province.   That is shameful.  Children with ASD should not be forced to pay the price for this government’s failure.”

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) is evidence-based, life-changing therapy that often provides children with ASD, the skills they need to thrive.

“The Wynne government claims that it is taking action to reduce the waitlist of children who need autism services.  What they are really doing is kicking vulnerable kids off the waiting list,” Gates said. “It was the Wynne government’s decision not to properly invest in autism services that caused the list to get so long in the first place.  Premier Wynne needs to listen to parents and families, advocates, experts, educators and now even school boards, who are all telling this government that it’s not too late to admit their mistake, and make sure children get the IBI treatment they need.”

Taylor has been meeting with parents and families across the province.  She praised the efforts of families at the meeting in Thorold today who have been working hard for their children to receive the autism treatment they need.

“Ontarians are inspired by the parents and the families here in Thorold, and across the province, who have come together to demand this government stop taking away essential treatment for their children.  Their struggle is inspiring people from all walks of life, and in every part of this province, to tell Premier Wynne that she is wrong. She cannot allow a generation of kids with ASD, who may have been waiting years for service, to never receive access to this life-changing therapy because of the year they were born,” Taylor said. “Children are our future, and they deserve better.  New Democrats will continue supporting parents and families who are fighting for their children with ASD. We will not stop pressuring the Liberal government to reverse its wrong-headed decision to deny these children essential autism services. I urge people to contact the Premier and tell her to change her decision on autism services rules.”

Media Contact: Alex Callahan, 416-325-0334