Liberals Balancing the Budget on the Backs of Children With Autism: NDP

QUEEN'S PARK – During Question Period today, Monique Taylor, the Ontario NDP’s Children and Youth Services critic, demanded the Liberal government listen to its own expert advisors, and stop trying to save money on the backs of children with autism.

“You can’t claim to be making decisions based on science if you’re ignoring the experts behind the science. This is about vulnerable children that deserve access to promised life-changing therapy. It’s time to put them first,” Taylor said. “This Liberal government needs to stop thinking they know more than clinicians, and listen to experts who are sounding the alarm.”

Last week, Dr. Ian Dawe, Chair of the expert panel that advised the Wynne government on autism policies, came out against the Wynne government’s plan. Dawe said, “What the government has funded was not what we recommended.”

“What is the point of appointing an expert panel if you’re just going to arrogantly ignore them? Does the Deputy Premier disagree with the Chair of her government’s own expert panel on autism?,” Taylor said.

Dr. Dawe is only one of a growing number of voices of clinicians and experts coming forward. Minutes from the October 2015 meeting of the Minister of Education’s Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE) state that 93 per cent of those receiving IBI are 5 and older.

“Ninety-three per cent means the government knew back in 2015 that this plan would leave only 7 per cent of children in life-changing, essential therapy. I guess now we know where the 5 year age cap came from. It’s obvious that this decision was all about saving money,” Taylor said.

“This government is balancing the budget on the backs of children with autism. Will the Deputy Premier admit that this decision was based on saving money? Will she reverse the decision to place an age cap on IBI therapy?”