South Glengarry backs Cornwall on autism funding
BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL
Staff South Glengarry council recently passed a motion supporting a City of Cornwall resolution requesting that the Ontario government delay changes to the Ontario Autism Program.
“I’m by no means an expert when it comes to the autism spectrum funding changes, but I know that there are a lot of concerns about the changes that are happening,” Councilllor Stephanie Jaworksi said during the June 3 regular council meeting. “It looks like what Cornwall has put together is fairly reasonable. I think we should support our neighbours.”
Mayor Frank Prevost agreed “100 per cent,” while DeputyMayor Lyle Warden concurred that “we need to stand with our neighbours and show our support.”
The South Glengarry resolution will be forwarded to Premier Doug Ford, Stormont-DundasSouth Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell, and the City of Cornwall.
The motion asks the province to suspend changes “pending meaningful consultation with a broad range of qualified stakeholders and inclusion of necessary revisions to the program to ensure that autistic children and adults receive the support they need to thrive within their communities.”
Amendments announced in February capped the treatment funding at $20,000 a year for children under six, with funding dropping to $5,000 per year until they were 18 years old.
The maximum amounts were only available to families earning less than $55,000 a year.
Parents across the province claimed those amounts were painfully inadequate for kids with severe needs, whose therapy can sometimes cost up to $80,000 a year.
The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services stated that the changes would “provide more children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder access to services sooner.”
However, after several weeks of public outcry, the ministry announced in late March it would eliminate income testing that assessed funding eligibility, and that affected children currently in government-funded therapy would have their services extended by six months.
SIGN UNVEILED: Take a drive through St. Raphael’s and you’ll see this brand new sign on the lawn in front of the St. Raphael’s Ruins. The new sign, which was unveiled at the Friends of the Ruins wine and cheese event, contains detailed information on upcoming events such as the annual Tartan Golf Tournament and concert. Shown above are Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell, SDG Warden Jamie MacDonald, Diana Sturkenboom (Chair of the Friends of the Ruins) and South Glengarry Councillor Sam McDonell.