South Glen­garry backs Corn­wall on autism fund­ing

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - News

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.

STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON PHOTO

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.

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