Why there are autism protests targeting the Ford government this Ontario election

Imagine you or a loved one were put on an 18 month waitlist to receive a healthcare treatment, and then just before you get to the front of the line, a bureaucrat changes the rules.

Instead of getting your treatment, they provide you a $5,000 health spending account based on your age, rather than your need. You go see a physician and they inform you that your prescribed treatment plan is quite extensive with a cost $80,000. You’re now $75,000 short.

Sounds like something that happens in the United States to those with poor health insurance coverage. But no, this is what happened to autistic children in Ontario under the Ford government, children who were waiting 18 months or longer (depending on region) to enter the Ontario Autism Program which was designed to provide prescribed levels of therapy based upon need.

To make matters worse, shortly after forming government, the Ford government froze the waitlist in the Fall of 2018. They instructed those administering the Ontario Autism Program to lie to parents enquiring on the status of their child's waitlist number.

Can you imagine being lied to when enquiring on the status of your healthcare waitlist number? Not only is it unfair, it’s a major breach of the public trust. Only a politician could do something like this and not get fired.

In the Spring of 2019, under intense protest, Ford said he would fix the program to account for a child’s need by April 2020. Except April 2020 didn’t happen, and it’s been delay after delay ever since.

As we enter the Ontario election on June 2, the program is still not fixed, and the waitlist has now more than doubled to 53,000 children.

That child who was diagnosed at age 2, who waited 2 years on a waitlist, is still waiting 4 years later. Instead of receiving treatment at age 4, that child is now 8 with no light at the end of the tunnel as to when they’ll receive the treatment they need.

Can you imagine waiting 6,7,8 years or more to receive your healthcare?

Quite simply, the Ford government botched the autism program, then after 4 years they failed to fix it. This is why you continue to see so many families and advocates protesting Progressive Conversative candidates this election.

During June’s election, we ask that you hold the PC Party accountable for their record and stand up for vulnerable autistic children who deserve so much better than the lousy hand that Ford dealt them.

Follow the situation on Twitter: #50KIsNotOK

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Scott Corbett

Scott Corbett

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