Protestors gather outside MPP Toby Barrett’s office again: Residents calling for more action in autism program

Protestors gather outside  MPP Toby Barrett’s office again: Residents calling for more action in autism program
SIMCOE—Yvonne Morassat stands with the Sherwood/Schabas family outside MPP Toby Barrett’s office to protest the current Ontario Autism Program. —Photo courtesy of Leah Kocmarek.

By Kaitlyn Clark

The Haldimand Press

SIMCOE—While the provincial government has made amendments to the initial changes they proposed for the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) in February 2019 after protests swept across the province, residents are saying it’s not enough. Ten people protested outside Haldimand Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett’s office again on Tuesday, August 6, 2019.

“The message we are trying to send is that while the current announcement regarding changes to the Ontario Autism Program is a step in the right direction, the interim plan leaves a lot to be desired,” said local protest organizer Leah Kocmarek.

Initially it was announced that starting April 1 Childhood Budgets would be given directly to families of autistic children until age 18 to purchase eligible services, with the budget determined by age and income. The initial protests were primarily concerned with three issues: 1) That certain beneficial services were not considered eligible; 2) The want for needs-based funding to give the most help to the kids who need it most; and 3) That current funding would be lost while the budgets were determined.

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