6 reasons why the Ontario autism protest continues in Belleville during the holidays

Today on December 27, 2019 there are parents and advocates of children on the autism spectrum travelling to Belleville to protest Todd Smith, the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services in his home riding.

Outsiders must be scratching their heads why a protest would occur during the holidays and what would cause many to travel hours in Ontario winter weather to protest.

Here’s 6 reasons why the protests continue:

  1. The Ford Government has broken it’s promise to have a new Ontario Autism Program up and running by April 2020, instead it will be sometime into 2021 before services are available. The community feels like they were lied to. In short, it’s a betrayal.
  2. The interim plan is precisely what caused the protests to begin with back when Lisa MacLeod was running the show. Minister Smith announced that his ministry will proceed in doling out childhood budgets to all, calling the plan imperfect, but hey something is better than nothing.
  3. The community at large is not fooled by the “something is better than nothing” rationale. While yes, such an approach can help some, for most it doesn’t come close to funding their needs they’ve been waiting years for. The community’s response to the childhood budgets is “I’d rather wait”
  4. The obvious quick-win is to reinstate bringing children on the wait list into the legacy program, possibly with an interim cap of say 30 hours per week as was suggested by the Ford Government’s internal review conducted by MPP Roman Baber.
  5. Minister Smith has failed to ensure that those in service will continue to receive services up until the new program is ready in 2021. The government would like for there to be a seamless transition, but they haven’t actually planned for it.
  6. Mike Moffatt’s “needs-curve” explainer diagrams still apply. Childhood budgets are incredibly wasteful and don’t meet needs. Read it here: The new Ontario Autism Program is a colossal waste of money that cannot be fixed. Here’s why.

Many thanks to all that took time out of their holidays to travel to Belleville to send your messages to Minister Smith. You are relentless!

Political Scientist turned IT professional serving Canadians in the public service. Father of 2 incredible boys on the autism spectrum.

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