Queens Park - Today, despite the many heart wrenching stories of families affected by cuts to autism services shared by MPP Tim Hudak and his colleagues in the PC Caucus, Ontario’s Liberal Government voted against the Progressive Conservative’s opposition day motion to reinstate life-changing autism therapy for children over the age of five. As of May 1st, the Liberal Government has terminated Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) therapy for those aged five and above.
“I’ve shared many of the stories families in West Niagara have shared with me on how they will be affected by these cuts to services,” said the Niagara West Glanbrook MPP. “Despite the plea from parents here in Niagara and across the province, the Liberal Government continues to show a lack of compassion by cutting these children from needed therapy.”
The Liberals’ decision to cut autism therapy has been met with disbelief by affected families. By the Ministry of Children and Youth Services’ own numbers, approximately 85 per cent of children who receive IBI therapy are over the age cut-off.
Children over the age of five still have special needs the province must address, and the waitlist for a less intensive form of therapy, ABA (applied behavioural analysis), is approximately 14,000 children.
“Autism doesn’t end at five, but the Liberal Government continues to cut autism therapy even though it has benefitted so many children above the age cut-off,” added Hudak. “It’s clear these cuts are the direct result of years of Liberal scandal, waste and mismanagement. Now the Wynne Liberals are attempting to balance the budget on the backs of some of our province’s most vulnerable.”
“The Liberal Government needs to re-evaluate its priorities, and offer transformational IBI therapy to children over five.”
To ensure the Legislative Assembly hears all of the stories of local families affected by autism spectrum disorder, Hudak created the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, and invites local families to share their stories.
“I will continue to share these stories and press the government to do the right thing for these kids,” said Hudak.
Hudak asked a question during Question Period on May 17 and spoke to the motion tabled by the PCs. Both videos can be viewed at www.timhudak.ca.