Statement from Minister Smith on Receiving the Autism Advisory Panel's Report
TORONTO — Today, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, issued the following statement after receiving the Autism Advisory Panel's report on recommendations for a new needs-based and sustainable Ontario Autism Program:
"Today I am pleased to say I have received the autism advisory panel's final report. The panel has worked tirelessly over the past several months, volunteering their time and sharing their knowledge, expertise and insights. I sincerely thank all panel members for taking time away from their busy lives to carry out this important task.
Our government has made the redesign of the Ontario Autism Program one of our top priorities. Our goal is to design a needs-based, sustainable program that supports as many children and youth on the autism spectrum and their families as possible.
To help us achieve that goal, we formed a 20-member advisory panel made up of parents with lived experience, autistic adults, educators and other experts from a range of disciplines including psychology, behaviour analysis, rehabilitation services, developmental pediatrics and research. The panel was tasked with providing recommendations on the design of a needs-based, sustainable Ontario Autism Program within the increased $600 million funding envelope.
The panel met 18 times over the past five months to examine results from extensive public consultations and consider relevant evidence, science and data to inform their recommendations for a new Ontario Autism Program.
I am continuing to review the panel's report thoroughly and carefully, giving it the time and consideration it deserves. The report is also available online for all Ontarians to review.
I am confident the panel's recommendations will serve as a strong foundation for the new Ontario Autism Program. Implementation of the new program is planned for April 2020.
I look forward to continuing our work with the community as we build a needs-based, sustainable program that supports as many children and youth on the autism spectrum and their families as possible."