VIDEO: Layoffs in the Autism Program at John McGivney Centre

Layoff notices have gone out at the John McGivney Children's Centre in Windsor, affecting its autism program.

Due to a change in the funding formula at the provincial level, the local centre issued 17 layoff notices last week, mostly to their instructor therapists.

The changes announced back in February will give funding directly to parents, not to agencies.

As a result, centre Executive Director Elaine Whitmore says the layoff notices were issued with a three month notice attached to it, to give the centre some time to see where parents will direct their funds.

"Part of that entails the capacity and ability for families to now purchase services from any provider of autism services and it could be some form of other support services like transportation," she says. "That's why we looked at the three-month notice and extended notice working notice for our staff, so we can see how our parents may choose to identify the services and choose the services we are looking for."

She admits it was a difficult choice to make.

"It was a sad for us here at John McGivney Children's Centre for sure. This was a step we did not want to have to take but for the ability to respond to this changing funding model, it was necessary for us to do."

The funding model changes have sparked protests from several parent groups across the province saying the funding isn't enough and it should be based on the children's needs, instead of just their age.

The province changed the funding model to clear a waiting list of 23, 000 children.