Daniel A. Betts
TORONTO -- On Mon. June 6, over 200 parents gathered at Queen's Park to protest recent changes made to how the government funds support for families with autistic children on a wait list for, or are receiving, IBI (Intensive Behavioural Intervention) Services.
Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Premier, and former Ontario Minister of Education in 2006, has recently explained that once changes are implemented children would experience shorter wait-times and receive better services for a greater period of time.
The new program is estimated by the Liberal government to be up and running in 2018.
Parallel to this, the $10-billion per year federal spending budget that Liberal PM Justin Trudeau promised Canadians in October 2015 is now, 8 months later, estimated at $30-billion. With that same mathematical formula, changes could potentially be implemented as early as 2022.
These changes to funding for autistic children are expected to affect more than 3500 children and their families, who note that treatment would cost tens-of-thousands annually.
The Ontario Liberal government is giving parents $8000 which they have estimated as being enough money to pay for "moderate services" for 36 months.
You can watch brief highlights of the peaceful protest at Queen's Park in Toronto on a very windy June afternoon, followed by a short interview with Rebecca Haight, mother of 6-year-old autistic son Calvin.
Speakers at the protest were led by Bruce McIntosh (Ontario Autism Coalition), and included parents of autistic children affected by these changes as well as speakers for the Progressive Conservative Party & New Democratic Party.
Also in attendance were Dr. James Porter of the Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, Fred Hahn of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and Smokey Thomas of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, as well as a number of others.
Since Coming into power, the Liberal government has been making a flurry of changes to programs and policies that the Steven Harper Conservative government had in place.
The Liberal Party is clearly dismantling Canada in a similar fashion to what the Stephen
Harper government did before them.
It appears that the Liberals are making changes to assert their positioning without consideration to the cost it brings to the families of autistic children in Ontario who depend on these government support programs for survival.
Sir John A. MacDonald once said, "Give the Grits rope enough, and they will hang themselves".
Will Canadians weather the storm Liberals are creating until that time arrives?