Government Appoints Autism Program Advisory Panel

The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services has appointed a  provincial Advisory Panel to provide advice and recommendations for needs-based supports for children with autism and their families.  OSOT is pleased that occupational therapy represntation has been included.

In March of this year, the government announced a commitment to double the investment in autism services with supports delivered on an assessed needs basis.  Additional eligible services that could be accessed with parents' Childhood Budgets, including occupational therapy, were also announced. An extensive public consultation was thereafter engaged to solicit inputs from families.  The Autism Program Advisory Panel will discuss the feedback from those consultations and is expected to offer recommendations to the minister by September 2019.

The 20 member autism expert panel includes parents of children with autism, clinicians, autism self-advocates, service providers, former public servants and others who are familiar with the autism file and will be co-chaired by former cabinet minister Dr. Marie Bountrogianni and the executive director of Autism Ontario, Margaret Spoelstra.  OSOT’s Executive Director, Christie Brenchley has been appointed to the Panel.   View Panel membership. 

Learn more about the Ontario Autism Program and 2019 changes. 

Implications for Occupational Therapists
OSOT has advocated for funded access to OT services throughout of the review and reform of the Ontario Autism Program over the past 4 years.  The Society was pleased with this year’s announcement of the eligibility of OT services (assessment, service delivery, consultation) for funding under a family’s Childhood Budget. 

As the province moves forward to identify needs-based funding for additional autism supports, an occupational therapy voice at the table is important.  Do you work with children and youth with autism?  Strengthen our representation and voice.  Forward your comments and recommendations to