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Ontario restores some funding for kids with autism following backlash

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne makes an announcement in Toronto on June 8, 2016.


Ontario is restoring some funding for kids with autism age five and older who were removed from a wait list for intensive therapy.

The Liberal government had announced that as part of a new Ontario Autism Program it would stop funding Intensive Behavioural Intervention for kids over four, instead transitioning them to what officials are calling a flexible service.

The government gave parents of children removed from the wait list $8,000 to pay for therapy during the transition period to the new program, but it wasn't due to roll out until 2018 and parents said that money would only pay for, at most, a few months of therapy.

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After a public outcry, the government is announcing today that those parents will be given direct funding – in successive payments of $10,000 – to pay for therapy until their child has a spot in the new program, or if they prefer, access to less intensive services funded by the government.

The government is also speeding up the transition to the new program, with a goal of implementing it in June 2017.

Officials estimate the cost of these changes will be $200-million, in addition to the $333-million that had already been earmarked for the new Ontario Autism Program.

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