Ontario putting money to making more autism services available


Ontario is putting more than $62 million in its autism budget this year to make services more available, as the province works to shore up its delayed revamp of the program.

The government is expected to announce this afternoon that the money will go toward initiatives such as grants for service providers to hire new clinical staff, increase hours for existing staff, and travel to serve kids in rural or remote communities.

Families and providers have said that there has been a diminished capacity over the past two years - with less service able to be offered even as the wait list grows.

The government tried to roll out a new autism program in February 2019, but scrapped it after it sparked outrage among parents because it capped funding at amounts families said would be too small for many, and made it based on age rather than needs.

After that plan failed, the government pledged to launch a new autism services program in April 2020 but announced in late 2019 that it would instead be phased in over two years.

This spring the government started enrolling children in core services, with about 470 now participating.