OSOT Applauds Government's Re-direction of Ontario Autism Program Development

On July 29, 2019, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Todd Smith announced a broadening of the scope of the Autism Advisory Panel to develop recommendations for a new, needs based and sustainable program, a unanimous recommendation of the Advisory Panel on which OSOT Executive Director, Christie Brenchley sits.  

View the Minister's announcement.

This announcement responds to the concerns of parents and the consistent messaging which was heard through the spring public consultation process and survey which was reviewed by the Autism Advisory Panel.  It recognizes that each child with autism is unique and that a program that supports services to meet the unique needs of each child/youth represents not only the best support to children and families, but also the best investment of public funds.

The Advisory Panel (of which OSOT Executive Director Christie Brenchley is a member) has been asked to extend it's mandate and deliver a report of recommendations and advice by the end of August to support the government's development of a new program to be in place for April 2020.

In the interim the government will extend current funding levels to families engaged in the program and will continue to extend Childhood Budgets to families on the waitlist until the new program is in place.

Consultation Announced on Regulation of Applied Behavioural Therapists
On August 13, 2019, Government announced a commitment to regulate behavioural clinicians who provide Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA).  The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, will begin consultations with key stakeholders to seek feedback on the oversight framework this fall.   View Communication Release.

Implications for Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists who work with children, youth and adults with autism will recognize the value in moving to a program that supports services to meet the unique needs of an individual.  In March 2019, the Ministry extended eligibility of funding to include occupational therapy as a service that can be purchased with Childhood Budgets.  It is expected that this eligibility will continue into re-design of a needs based program.

Families of clients with whom OTs work with will have experienced significant change in services available over the past several years.  While this new direction may be seen to be positive, families may need supports to understand the transitional implications.  OTs are encouraged to review the Minister's announcement and to monitor the Ministry's Autism Program webpages to be informed to support families through this period of transition.

OSOT will be a stakeholder in the consultation regarding the regulatory oversight for ABA therapists and will keep members apprised of the consultation timelines to enable participation in the development of our inputs.

OSOT's Executive Director sits on the Autism Advisory Panel and welcomes input from members.  Please direct your comments/input to cbrenchley@osot.on.ca.