Parents mark one year of cuts to autism funding on the eve of teacher strikes
Parents of children with autism are marking one year since cuts were made to Ontario’s autism funding.
Dozens rallied with supporters outside the office of MPP Lisa MacLeod, who was Social Services Minister at the time.
“Our kids deserve better,” said parent Scott Corbett.
“Do something right now; don’t make people wait any longer.”
Many parents, some with more than one child on the autism spectrum say their family has spent the last year in ‘crisis mode’.
“You’re choosing everyday whether you pay off shelter, whether you pay off food, your car or therapy for your child,” said parent Cathy Varrette.
“Something eventually gives, and you can’t pay for it all.”
Current Children, Community and Social Services Minister Todd Smith had announced the government would be bringing back a needs-based program for children with autism that would be phased in over two years. It was supposed to be running by April 2020, but the government announced in December there would be a delay.
“We can’t wait anymore, we needed help like yesterday,” said parent Talitha Leblanc.
“I have better things to do than stand out on the street corner every week, I’d rather be home with my children right now, but someone has to be here. “
It comes as Ottawa braces for a full-scale week of strikes, as teachers unions take turns with one-day walkouts.
Despite the government offering money to help with child care during school closures, families with children with special needs are hit harder.
“40 dollars a day doesn’t cover child care with two kids with special needs,” said Leblanc.
“It’s hard but I stand behind our educators as well, they need the support.”
For more information on this week’s education strikes, including a full list of which boards are scheduled to walkout each day, you can learn more here.