HOUSING TASK FORCE’S FINAL REPORT STATES WE HAVE A SUPPORTIVE HOUSING CRISIS

There is a housing crisis confronting Ontarians with developmental disabilities —
and it is a crisis that has been growing steadily more serious for at least twenty years.
For many citizens whose families are unaffected by the challenges connected with
developmental disabilities, the housing crisis is often invisible. Too often, however,
housing challenges can bring pain and consequences that profoundly limit the joys
and opportunities that should be available to all in a province as blessed as ours.

 Click on Read Report

Province promises improvements to autism services in Mississauga and Brampton

The provincial government’s announcement that it will create a needs-based autism plan for families in Ontario is receiving mixed reviews.

“I’m very encouraged, but I’m also cautious,” said Tara Bourgeois, of Brampton, who is the mother of an 8-year-old boy who has autism. “We’re getting a lot of talk but no action.”

After six months of protests from families over cuts to autism services, Children, Community and Social Services Minister Todd Smith announced Tuesday (July 29) the province will continue to provide continuity of service while the ministry works on a new program for autism services.

The province said it will invest an additional $278 million in Ontario’s autism program, bringing the total amount to $600 million each year.

Come January, Brampton single-father of autistic boy will have to pay over $55,000 out of his pocket to cover critical treatment.

‘Significantly impacted’: Nearly 300 ErinoakKids employees receive layoff notices due to autism funding overhaul

“Ensuring the Ontario Autism Program is needs-based will help families that require specialized care for their children,” Mississauga Centre MPP Natalia Kusendova said in a statement. “We must work together to protect the sustainability of the program so that it can support children and families today and in the future.”

However, the new program will not be in place until April 2020.

“Some of these people have been waiting two to four years,” said Bourgeois. “Many families, unfortunately, will likely be unhappy as they continue to wait for therapy. I feel their agony as I’ve been on a wait list before.”

This is an unreasonably slow time frame, according to the Ontario Autism Coalition (OAC). In the meantime, the OAC said parents are being told childhood budget cheques will continue to be issued to families on the wait-list, even though there is agreement a one-size-fits-all approach is wrong.

“It’s tidy in terms of administration,” said Bruce McIntosh, past-president of OAC. “It’s based on the province’s needs and not families.”

Although the province says there are now 25,000 families on the waiting list for services, McIntosh said there is no way to determine exactly how many families are waiting because of privacy laws.

McIntosh said some families have registered their child in different regions to expedite access to services. He’s heard of some parents who have joint custody of a child registering the child twice.

Bourgeois is fortunate her son will get an additional six months of therapy. But what happens to parents of children who have other disabilities, such as Down syndrome, asked Bourgeois? “They are left in the dust.”

In August, OAC will hold another round of protests outside MPPs’ offices. McIntosh said the message is “hurry the hell up” and get the program up and running.

Ontario Autism Telephone Town Hall Consultations

The Government of Ontario is engaging in a series of public consultations on how children and youth with autism, including those with complex needs, can be better supported.

The Province says that these consultations will help look at ways to reduce barriers for children with autism, while also looking specifically at enhancements to the Ontario Autism Program.

The Telephone Town Hall forums will be hosted by a non-partisan consultant and run for one hour. They will be broken up into segments where the key themes of the consultation will be a focus of discussion.

To register go to www.ontario.ca/autism You will then be taken to a registration page on the Eventbrite site. To register you will need to provide your name, telephone number and email address. After you have registered you will receive a confirmation email at the email address you have provided.

Minister Announces Changes to Controversial Autism Program

Ontario is making changes to its controversial autism program, eliminating income testing and exploring supports based on need.

Parents of children with autism have been protesting the plan announced last month by Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, saying it would leave kids without access to the levels of therapy they need.

MacLeod has previously announced that in order to clear a waiting list of 23,000 children, kids with autism would receive direct funding to pay for treatment, with caps of up to $20,000 per year for treatment for children under six and $5,000 a year for children six to 18.

Those maximums were based on family income, and MacLeod says today that all kids under six diagnosed as on the spectrum will receive $20,000 and kids over six will receive $5,000.

MacLeod also says the government is now looking at how best to provide additional supports to families based on the diagnosed need of the child.

Intensive therapy can cost up to $80,000 a year and many parents with kids already in government-funded therapy say they will be unable to cover the difference to keep their kids in full-time therapy.

Private Member’s Bill Aims to Provide Continuous Supports

A private member’s bill that would ensure continuous services and support are provided to adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities after they turn 18 passed second reading in the Legislature on February 21st.

Noah and Gregory’s Law, which was brought forward by Windsor West MPP and NDP Critic for Community and Social Services Lisa Gretzky, aims to eliminate the gap in services and end the years-long waitlist that tens of thousands of families currently face.

“When people with developmental disabilities turn 18, they lose their youth support and have to go through another application process to apply for adult support,” said Gretzky, who was referring to Special Services at Home and Passport funding.

“Even though many families apply well in advance of a child turning 18, and even though those supports are supposed to begin as soon as the applicant turns 18, many individuals fall into a service gap – they are cut off from their youth support, and forced to wait years for the adult support to kick in.”

According to Gretzk, as many as 16,000 people with developmental or intellectual disabilities are stuck on the waitlist for Passport funding.

If passed into law, Gretzky’s bill will guarantee that anyone receiving youth support will continue receiving these services until their adult support takes effect.

2019 Spring Workshops

PASSPORT INFORMATION SESSIONS

Brampton Sessions: 456 Vodden St.E. Unit#3, Brampton L6S 5Y7

Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2019    Time: 1:00-4:00pm

Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2019     Time: 1:00-4:00pm

 

Bolton Sessions: 12 Parr Blvd. Unit #10,    Bolton ON L7E 4H1

Date: Thursday, March 7, 2019    Time: 1:00-4:00pm

Date: Thursday, April 18, 2019     Time: 1:00-4:00pm

To register for these sessions, contact Saara Zainul, Peel Passport Developer at 905-866-6300 ext.225

SPRING WORKSHOPS

Duty to Accommodate/Advocacy

Luke Reid from ARCH Disability Law Centre will provide an overview of the rights of students with a disability to be accommodated. Parents will also obtain information on how to approach educators if their child is excluded from school activities due to their support needs.

Date: Thursday, March 7, 2019                              Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Location: 19 Rutherford Rd S, Unit B, Brampton L6W 3J3 (Behind Napa Auto Parts)

To register: email karens@bramptoncaledoncl.ca or call Karen 905-453-8841 ext.1221

 

Wills & Trusts

Lisa Sticht-Maksymec, a lawyer with Pallett Valo, will present information regarding Wills, Henson Trusts & RDSP’s for their loved ones with a developmental disability.

Date: Thursday, April 18, 2019                                 Time: 7:00 – 8:30pm

Location: Albion & Bolton Community Centre-Meeting Room A, 150 Queen St. S. Bolton ON L7E 1E3

To register: email karens@bramptoncaledoncl.ca or call Karen 905-453-8841 ext.1221

 

Guardianship

Lisa Sticht-Maksymec, a lawyer with Pallett Valo, will present information about legal guardianship for adults living with a developmental disability.

Date: Thursday, May 9, 2019                                   Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Location: 19 Rutherford Rd S, Unit B, Brampton L6W 3J3 (behind Napa Auto Parts)

To register: email karens@bramptoncaledoncl.ca or call Karen 905-453-8841 ext.1221

 

Passport Information Session

Passport Community Developer, Saara Zainul, will present information about Passport funding and how to utilize these funds to support their loved ones with a developmental disability.

Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019                            Time: 7:00-8:00pm

Location: 19 Rutherford Rd.S. Unit B, Brampton L6W 3J3 (behind Napa Auto Parts)

To register: email karens@bramptoncaledoncl.ca or call Karen 905-453-8841 ext.1221

 

p4p Planning Network Free Online Webcasts

  • Wills, Trusts and Estates: March 28, 2019 from 7:00-8:00pm
  • Introduction to the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP): April 11, 2019 from 4:00-5:00pm
  • Trustees: Roles and Responsibilities: May 6, 2019 from 7:00-8:00pm
  • Staying Strong and Resilient: May 23, 2019 from 7:00- 8:00pm
  • All About the ODSP:  May 30, 2019 from 7:00-8:00pm
  • Microboards: Sustaining Your Future: June 6, 2019 from 7:00-8:00pm

To register for these Free webcasts, please visit Partners for Planning website click here

 

PROVINCE ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO ONTARIO’S AUTISM PROGRAM

The Government of Ontario has announced changes to Ontario’s Autism Program. Under the government’s proposed reforms, families may receive a Childhood Budget until their child turns 18. The amount of the budget will depend on the length of time a child will be in the program, with supports targeted to lower and middle-income families.  For example, a child entering the program at age two would be eligible to receive up to $140,000, while a child entering the program at age seven would receive up to $55,000.

Families will be able to choose to purchase the eligible services including behavioural services, from providers of their choice on a fee-for-service basis

Additional changes include:

  • Doubling funding to expand the province’s five diagnostic hubs so that families can receive a diagnosis sooner;
  • Introducing a provider list to help families find qualified clinical supervisors for behavioural services;
  • Establishing an independent agency to bring families into the program, help them manage their funding, and assist them in purchasing and accessing services; and

Autism Ontario will be offering support to families to help them understand their options and to assist them in finding service providers through workshops, training sessions and one-on-one support.

QUICK FACTS

  • To be eligible for the Ontario Autism Program, a child must have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder from a qualified professional. Families are eligible to apply for program funding for children and youth up to age 18.
  • Today, there are over 2,400 families waiting for a diagnostic assessment, and more than 23,000 families waiting for behavioural services through the Ontario Autism Program with demand continuing to grow.
  • Evidence shows that children who receive behavioural intervention therapies between two and five years of age have the best long-term outcomes.

For more information, contact Autism Service Ontario Toll-Free Number at 1-888-284-8340