The Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Todd Smith, issued the update on autism funding following the release of 2019-2020.
The government will be spending a combined $1.2 billion over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years to support children and youth during the transition to the new Ontario Autism Program. This funding commitment is not fully captured in this year’s Public Accounts, as payments to families are being reported in the year in which they were made.
The government will provide interim one-time funding for all families on the waitlist for autism services. On the waitlist by March 31, 2020, those who submitted their application for one-time funding have now received their payment. Many of these payments will not be reported in Public Accounts until next year.
More than 28,000 children are receiving support through existing behaviour plans, childhood budgets, and interim one-time funding, more children than ever before. Families can use their childhood budget or interim one-time funding for eligible services, including Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Speech and Language Therapy (SLP), Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, and technology respite, family supports, and equipment.
The past six months dealing with COVID-19 have been difficult for many people, but even more challenging for those families who have been home with no access to their normal supports. In recognition of these extraordinary times, the Ministry has ensured these families have the necessary time to complete and return their interim one-time funding applications.