The Ontario PC Autism Plan: The Truth behind the Talking Points

Updated March 13, 2019, 6:10pm

In this document, we provide counterpoints to 20 major talking points and assumptions of Minister Lisa MacLeod and the Ontario PC Party regarding their 2019 announced changes to the Ontario Autism Program.

Written by Dr. Janet McLaughlin, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University and Louis Busch, BST, ABS (H.C.), M.Ed., BCBA, with helpful input and contributions from Dr. Mike Moffatt, PhD, Assistant Professor, Business, Economics and Public Policy, Ivey Business School, Shelley Morgan, M.Ed., Scott Corbett, Anne Mason, Nancy Marchese, M.A., C.Psych., BCBA. Dr. Adrienne Perry Ph.D., C. Psych., BCBA-D, and Dr. Julie Koudys, Ph.D., C.Psych., BCBA-D

Introduction

The Progressive Conservative government’s proposed autism plan is having major and devastating consequences for children, families and schools. Autism therapists are already being told to prepare for massive layoffs in both the public and private sectors. Principals, school boards and education workers have all sounded the alarm: They cannot meet the needs of children abruptly transitioned into school in this model. Countless parents have indicated that their families will be in crisis with an unexpected end to service part-way through the school year without any plan for transition. The changes need to stop immediately.

Our main recommendation is to:

Pause the abrupt change and continue current funding for children in service while immediately assembling a committee of autism experts and key stakeholders to develop a functional plan that bases services on clinical need, not age or income, yet acknowledges fiscal responsibility.

Determining the right model for Ontario requires meaningful consultations; other successful models already exist, showing that solutions can be found. Rushing into an ill-conceived and widely criticized plan will do lasting damage that cannot easily be undone.

In this document we explain why the PC plan is flawed, responding to each of the government’s key “talking points.”

Talking Point #1: The Plan is Fair and Equitable.

Response: Equality is giving everyone the same thing, and equity is giving everyone the level of support they require to succeed based on their individual need. With arbitrary age and income cut-offs and complete disregard for individual clinical need, this plan is (by definition) neither equal nor equitable. Autism spectrum disorders are extremely diverse, with a wide range of challenges and gifts. Autism has three diagnostic levels, each requiring different levels of support (Level 1 — Requires Support; Level 2 — Requires Substantial Support; Level 3 — Requires Very Substantial Support). Even within these levels, there is a large range of needs; furthermore, these needs and challenges change over time.

Additionally, there is a range of common co-morbid diagnoses found with ASD as varied as epilepsy and ADHD. Some children have speech disorders, others do not. Some have an intellectual disability, while others have IQs well above average. Ignoring these differences and the unique needs of each child is not fair, nor is it a wise use of taxpayer dollars.

As Dr. Mike Moffatt points out, by starting funding based on age of diagnosis, some children will have access to far more funds than others. Groups who tend to get earlier diagnoses — e.g., urban, higher income and male children — will be advantaged, while rural, lower income and female children, who tend to be diagnosed later, will be disadvantaged. These differences further magnify the inequality and inequity inherent in the plan.

Talking Point #2: The Plan is Sustainable and Fiscally Responsible. Ontario Cannot Afford to Pay for Intensive Autism Therapy.

Response: The truth is not that Ontario is unable to afford funding autism services. The reality is that Ontario cannot afford not to fund them. Even staunch fiscal conservatives such as Stephen Harper’s former speech-writer Michael Taube have denounced this plan. It may be true that in the short-term the plan will allow the government to save money in the autism program portfolio, however this is precisely because so little will be given to families. Ivey Business School Economics Professor Mike Moffatt has exposed the program’s financial inaccuracies and has projected cuts as deep as $100 million as a result of age caps and income-based means testing. The following points merit consideration:

1. The needs of children and families who do not receive adequate therapy will increase, raising pressure on social assistance, education, long-term care, and health care sectors and calling their sustainability into question. A wide number of high quality research studies clearly demonstrate that early and adequate (intense when required) autism therapy saves far more costs both over the short and long-term across a range of public service sectors. By cutting clinically recommended therapies, the province is saving money in one sector while spending far more in several others, and causing increased expense over a lifetime because of unaddressed need. As the Canadian Senate Study on autism concluded: “governments must pay now; otherwise, they will pay later.” For every dollar invested in autism therapy, many more can be saved in future expenses.

2. Not all children with autism require intensive ABA therapy. Some may benefit from a focused program or assistance from an occupational therapist or speech and language pathologist, while others may require different specialized supports. It does not make financial sense to give children who may require only minimal supports the same funding as a child with complex challenges who requires substantial supports.

3. After great investment in building capacity in ABA therapy in Ontario, major layoffs of young trained professionals are now expected in the field. Some universities and colleges are announcing they are closing their autism behavioural science programs. Major job losses in any field combined with a reduction in service capacity will have economic ripple effects.

4. Financial implications stretch beyond autistic individuals and impact their families. A recent study of over 650 Ontario autism families found that 45% of mothers were working less hours than desired (part-time or not at all) due to inadequate services for their autistic children. Further reducing supports means these trends will continue. This wastes the dollars that went into parents’ education, lowers the tax-base, and increases family demands on social services including social assistance. Equally important, it disproportionately impacts women. The same study found that once children were better supported in the OAP, the reported physical, mental and emotional health of caregivers improved. While the cost/benefit of family members’ improved health outcomes and workforce participation were not measured in the study, they are surely significant.

Talking Point #3: 23,000 children, (75%, 3 out of 4), were languishing on waitlists under the previous program.

Response: It is a gross misrepresentation to assume that all 23,000 children were young and waiting for intensive ABA. Based on the size of the regional autism programs, publicly available regional provider annual reports, and service flow over the last decade, it is safe to estimate that at least 45% of children on the OAP waitlist previously received treatment. A significant number on the waitlist were waiting for short-term direct service consultative programs. Many of those had previously received those services and had gone back on the waitlist to wait for another turn.

The number is further inflated by consolidation of diagnostic, treatment and group-based treatment waitlists and by the government’s intentional 8 month hold on entry to services. Governmental release of these figures would allow for proper scrutiny. It would be prudent for the government to survey all waitlisted families to ask what they are waiting for (e.g., access to a social skills group versus intensive therapy) before determining an appropriate budget and devising a policy to address these diverse needs.

Talking Point #4: The opposition parties should be ashamed for implementing/supporting the previous OAP.

Response: Just three years ago in 2016, the PC party stood side-by-side with families and autism advocates, the very same people they are now accusing of being “professional protesters.” They stood day after day in the Legislature, reading out stories of their constituents who were devastated by the Liberal cuts to Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) therapy, demanding that they be reversed. Now, when opposition members make similar statements in calling for change, the Minister accuses them of giving parents “false hope.”

The PC party even put forward a motion on their opposition day to extend IBI to all children for whom it was required, regardless of their age, which was supported by the NDP. The motion moved that: “…The Legislative Assembly of Ontario accepts that intensive behavioural intervention — IBI — therapy is statistically effective at improving the development of autistic children of any age; and…The Legislative Assembly of Ontario supports restoring funding for IBI therapy for children over the age of five.”

As the transcripts show, the motion was unanimously supported by PC MPPs, who passionately argued for the very changes that the Liberals brought about, and celebrated a political victory once the Liberal government changed course. To our knowledge, after the Liberal government changed Ministers and brought about the new OAP under the leadership of Minister Michael Coteau, the Conservatives did not argue that the OAP should be scrapped while they were in opposition; instead, they indicated their support for IBI as clinically indicated and they promised continued support for the program during the election. Why are they now suggesting the NDP and Liberal opposition members should be ashamed of supporting a policy that they fought so hard towards implementing?

Talking Point #5: Families will receive a childhood budget of up to $140K.

Response: Families will receive up to $20K/year from the ages of 2–5 and up to $5K/year from ages 6–17. The median Ontario family income in 2015 was $86,081 (2016 Census). Claw-backs begin for families who have an income of $55K.

Reports place the average age of autism diagnosis in Canada around 5.5 years. Unless a child is diagnosed by the age of 2 and their family never makes more than $55K combined throughout the entire funding period (nearly two decades), they will not receive the full amount. Even with efforts to provide an earlier diagnosis, almost no families, if any, will qualify for this full funding of $140K. Most will qualify for substantially less.

Talking Point #6: The plan will serve 100% of Ontario children and youth with autism.

Response: This plan undermines efforts toward equity by negatively impacting a disproportionate number of children with complex needs. It provides greatly reduced benefits and/or excludes those with higher incomes regardless of their level of family debt, place of residence, number of children, etc. This is despite the fact that many families have already remortgaged or sold their homes or otherwise reduced their assets and savings, to pay for therapy while waiting. There is no flexibility to consider extenuating circumstances or times of crisis; there is no mechanism for appeal of the Childhood Budget amount. Children are defined only by a formula combining age and family income. Children with severe needs across income groups will never have the opportunity to access the intense level of therapy that they need.

Talking Point #7: The Plan Gives Parents More Choice.

Response: The plan actually gives parents less choice. Families cannot opt for intensive ABA therapy (because the childhood budget amounts are insufficient). Based on information currently provided, it appears the plan will not cover many therapies that children with autism often need, such as speech and language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy or psychology services. Under the previous OAP, consultations with other professionals could be covered. Our understanding of the information provided about the new program is that these services will no longer be included. This is a reduction in choice, not an increase.

Cutting the Direct Service Option reduces choice for families even further. While some families prefer the direct funding model, others prefer direct access to services. Many families may neither want nor be equipped to self-manage budgets, hire their own professionals, etc. Removing this option could have particularly negative effects on new immigrant and refugee families where challenges with English as a second language may present further barriers to system navigation, as well as on rural, remote and other under-serviced communities, where government services may have been their only option. The previous program allowed for either option based on parent choice.

Claims that respite and communication technology funding are new are not accurate. These were already covered through other programs. Such services, while important, do not replace therapy. When parents are provided with funding too limited to cover functional therapy, they may be inclined to simply spend more on respite (while clearly important, and less costly than behavioural interventions, respite does not bring about meaningful change in outcomes).

Finally, there are very real concerns that the field of ABA in Ontario will suffer a major blow in capacity and training. In the wake of the announced changes, some university and college programs specializing in autism are announcing they will no longer be taking applicants, meaning there will be fewer therapists to provide support for the many autistic children in Ontario going forward. Graduate and college level programs are preparing for disruptions in clinical placements for students, meaning there will be fewer opportunities for students to access required supervised practice, contributing to diminishing availability of trained professionals in our province.

Talking Point #8: Children in full or part-time therapy can just transition into full-time public school, where they will be well supported.

Response: Principals, school boards and education workers have all sounded the alarm: They cannot properly and safely accommodate children with complex needs with so little notice. Schools plan for special education support allocations long in advance, and the school year is almost finished. Professionals worry that suddenly transitioning so many children with ASD, many of whom are at high risk for elopement (running away), have self-injurious or aggressive behaviours, and/or other complex challenges, will cause chaos in classrooms and place some children at risk. These risks are not theoretical, as autistic children die of injuries at a rate of 40 times greater than their neurotypical peers.

It is also very detrimental to the autistic children, many of whom thrive on a predictable routine, to not have a proper transition plan from therapy or therapeutic school environments into full-time public schools. Already some parents are reporting on social media that schools are telling them they cannot accommodate their children. If more parents have to quit their jobs to take care of their children who cannot be safely accommodated, there will be further economic and social consequences.

Talking Point #9: Minister Lisa Thompson’s March 11, 2019 education funding announcement should provide sufficient support for children with autism.

This misleading announcement does not make up for the problems associated with cancelling the Ontario Autism Program.

1. The funding announced by Minister Thompson does not address any of the widely articulated concerns about a lack of transition plan for students exiting the OAP. Some children have only been given a couple of months’ notice from the time of the initial announcement to transition from full or part-time therapy into the full-time school system. Many children with autism thrive on predictable routines, and this is not sufficient time to prepare them for an abrupt transition. During a proper transition, the number of therapy hours would be gradually reduced over a period of many months, while therapy and school teams meet to discuss and integrate successful strategies to optimize the chance of the child’s success in school.

2. It appears the funding is only effective for the 1,105 new children entering the system. The majority of the children currently receiving therapy in the OAP are already attending school part-time, and would also require additional supports in order to attend full-time.

3. It appears that the provision of an average of $12,300 per new student represents merely an extension to the deadline of existing supports, rather than a new investment. (The amount already allocated per entering pupil in 2018–19 was $12,300.)

4. Providing teachers extra training in autism, while welcome, in no way replaces autism therapy. Teachers are busy managing large classrooms and cannot replace a highly trained one-to-one autism therapist.

5. Even if the $12,300 were directed towards an Educational Assistant to work with each child, this could not replace autism therapy, as EAs are generally not trained as therapists. More to the point, this amount would not come close to paying their salary, let alone extra costs associated with supervision in autism therapy.

Evidence-based intervention for children with autism does not involve one sole person, such as an EA. It involves a tiered service-delivery model comprised of experts from front-line workers, up to masters and doctoral level behaviour analysts who supervise and monitor individual child progress. A one-day training will not and obviously can never replace this highly trained, qualified team of experts. After school programs also do not replace autism therapy.

6. Finally, the announcement only discusses funds for this year. What about the children entering school in the fall who should be in full or part-time therapy? There is no mention of extra funding for them.

Already stakeholder groups such as Autism Ontario have strongly criticized the changes, indicating the proposed program “does not address the fundamental concerns and worries that parents of students with autism express to us daily.” Mike Moffatt summed up the announcement as follows: “In a nutshell the plan is: Cancel therapy, put those kids into school full-time instead, make teachers watch a webinar about autism and pocket the savings.”

Talking Point #10: Anyone who fails to support the plan doesn’t care about the 23,000 kids who were waiting.

Response: One of the most vocal groups of critics of the new plan has been waitlisted parents, who have come together with parents in service to denounce the plan. Many of these parents are showing up at rallies and writing letters indicating they do not support it. These critics — including the families on the waitlist — want all children to receive the level of service they clinically require. Families came together to make the video Autism Families: 100% United and web site We are the 100% to explain why they would rather wait for clinically proven therapy than take a small annual cash handout.

Talking Point #11: This plan is evidence-based because it focuses on early intervention of younger children.

Response: The only evidence-based part of the plan is that early diagnosis helps children to access intensive behaviour intervention sooner. Under this plan, no child will have enough funds for intensive intervention, which can cost up to $80K a year. Research clearly shows that early, intensive intervention (30+ hours of direct ABA treatment over two or more years) is what makes a long-term difference for children with severe challenges. Other children may need much less. Lacking consideration of children’s unique needs, and failing to provide enough funding for early intensive intervention, this plan is an arbitrary and fiscally irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars.

Additionally, we know that older children with autism still make substantial gains through ABA therapy. According to the 2019 Behavior Analyst Certification Board ASD Practice Guidelines:

“Although most participants in early intervention studies were between 2–8 years of age when they entered treatment, extensive research shows that the effectiveness of the multiple behavior-change procedures that comprise comprehensive ABA treatment is not limited to clients of a certain age or diagnosis (e.g., Hassiotis et al., 2011; Ivy & Schreck, 2016; Wong et al, 2017). Therefore, determinations as to whether ABA treatment should be focused or comprehensive and the intensity of treatment should be based on the medical necessity of the treatment for each individual client rather than the client’s chronological age, duration or nature of previous ABA services, or the like” (BACB-APBA, 2019).

Talking Point #12: The only way to cut the waitlist is to implement this plan. We’ve looked around other jurisdictions and this is the best solution.

Response: Consultation with experts reveals many other alternatives could be considered: increasing funding, putting services under OHIP and/or private insurances, improving access to evidenced-based autism services in schools, etc. The latest incarnation of Ontario’s Autism Program was very new and was still being developed. Rather than scrapping the entire program, it should have been evaluated to find possible efficiencies (e.g., place reasonable caps on hours, such as maximum 35–40/week for those who require intensive therapy and are not in school; establish a rate card for public and private providers; provide more regulation and oversight of service providers).

Models in other jurisdictions such as Alberta, and US states like Missouri and Virginia, have been discussed as possible alternatives that could be adapted. They demonstrate broadly accepted, fiscally responsible solutions. There are many possibilities to consider, including ONTABA’s fully developed model created in consultation with families, autism organizations, and internationally renowned clinical experts following the development of a comprehensive research synthesis (both of which were shared with the government in the fall of 2018, but whose findings were disregarded). Sadly, expert stakeholders were not meaningfully consulted in the development of this plan.

Talking Point #13: Income testing is a smart plan. We’re focusing on providing help for those who need it most — low- and middle-income families, as the rich can afford private therapy.

Response: All political parties accept that we do not income-test health services in Canada. Autism therapy should be no exception, and this plan is particularly short-sighted. The family income of $55K is far below the average income for an Ontario family, meaning the vast majority of families will not qualify for full support.

Income testing is not an accurate reflection of family wealth and resources — it does not consider the number of children/dependents, or their needs, amount of family debt, location of residence, etc. Many Ontario autism families, particularly fathers, work extra jobs (evenings and weekends) in order to pay for the supports their children need. They will be doubly penalized.

Even high-income families cannot afford intensive therapies of up to $80K a year while also saving for their child’s long-term needs and paying other family expenses. Many have already incurred significant debt while waiting to get into the program. This short-sighted policy may have unintended ripple effects, such as inadvertently encouraging parents to quit jobs or work fewer hours to care for children or stay within income thresholds, encouraging high income earning professionals to leave Ontario, or increasing divorces so that income-testing will provide for their child. Already media reports are telling of such stories.

If anything, Ontario should implement more generous tax rebates for families who do pay substantial therapy costs out of pocket for their children, without clawing-back their ability to access basic, clinically indicated therapies. Economist Mike Moffatt’s article: Why the OAP income testing formula stinks further explains these and other criticisms.

Talking Point #14: The children on the waitlist were never going to get off the waitlist because no one would end treatment. The new plan will clear the waitlist.

Response: Everyone agrees the waitlist was too long, however movement had actually increased prior to the list being frozen by the government in the fall. According to reports from the MCSS client services branch, the number of children receiving Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) had doubled while the number of children receiving other forms of ABA had tripled since 2005. Reports from the Regional Autism Providers of Ontario released under a Freedom of Information request indicate that the waitlist numbers were declining rapidly between October 2017 and June 2018, with the number of children receiving direct service more than doubling during that time period (and many more children receiving service through direct funding options). In other words, the number of new children receiving services exceeded the number of children registering for the OAP during those quarters.

Older children generally decrease hours over time as skills are gained and they are able to attend school, freeing up funding for younger children. Youth also age out of the system which makes room for newly diagnosed children. Importantly, many children with autism never require intensive treatment.

Efficiencies could have been found in the system to reduce spending and wait times. Instead, families who were waiting years for intensive therapy will never receive it. The waitlist has been effectively ‘cleared’ by ending the program for which so many families were waiting.

Talking Point #15: The previous government left behind a “broke” and “bankrupt” system with $256 million, which the PC government increased to $321 million by going to the treasury board for $100 Million.

Response: The Liberal government had increased the funding of the program to $321 million prior to leaving office. The Minister has yet to release proof that her ministry secured an emergency $100 million dollars to further subsidize the program, but continues to mention that she aided in the increase of the program to $321 million. If an increase of $100 million did occur, the current plan’s budget would sit at $356 million, not $321 million. The Financial Accountability Office is now examining the apparent discrepancy in these numbers.

Talking Point #16: The Liberal System was Broken.

Response: While the previous OAP needed greater oversight and efficiencies, and a reduction in wait times, many positives were also demonstrated. Rather than looking at what was working and what was not, the PC government dismantled it entirely. This lets down both families who were in the program and were generally happy with it, and families who were waiting. Those waiting have indicated they would prefer to continue to wait rather than never having access to the clinically necessary therapy.

Through consultation with service providers, the government would have seen that there are many success stories of children who upon entering the program were far behind typical peers only to make massive gains and either catch up to their peers and enter the school system, or narrow the gap and track towards catching up. In fact, several large studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Ontario’s Intensive Behavioural Intervention program.

Talking Point #17: We’re doubling investment into diagnostic hubs.

Response: While the investment into the diagnostic hubs is doubling, and many have hailed that as the only positive thing about this announcement, questions remain about how many additional children will be assessed each year. Further, what is the current cost through the diagnostic hub to assess a child? Would it cost less if done through a developmental pediatrician? Would it be more fiscally responsible to allow for direct funding for a psychologist to do the assessment?

Talking Point #18: The Minister engaged in “Extensive Consultation” in designing the new Ontario Autism Program.

Response: A leaked October 2018 FAQ memo from the Ministry to regional service providers suggests that policy decisions had been made months before the round table consultations with parents were to occur in December of 2018 and January of 2019. It appears that the Minister conducted round table meetings with parents simply for the optics, long after the policy had already been fully developed. This excluded experts, professionals, and parent advocates throughout the development process, and stakeholders were threatened with charges of slander and “four long years” if they did not provide blind support. The last consultations were held just days before the plan’s release, and clearly had no opportunity to influence it.

The invitation-only round tables focused on waitlisted parents whose main concern at that time was to get off the waitlist. Many waitlisted parents who attended the round tables are saying this plan is not what they asked for, including one misquoted by the Minister in the Legislature as supposedly supporting the plan.

Meanwhile, many stakeholders who have requested to consult with the government about the changes to the OAP have not been granted the opportunity.

Talking Point #19: The Minister did not order providers to freeze the waitlist for intensive behavioural intervention.

Response: In spite of repeated denials, a leaked ministry memo and multiple verified provider emails clearly confirm the intentional “pause” of intakes and an explicit instruction to withhold that information from families over five months. Multiple internal ministry and regional provider documents authenticated by multiple media sources, and by the providers themselves, clearly identify a directive from the ministry to halt entry to intensive behavioural intervention programs and to actively conceal this information from parents. The Ministry’s own statement confirms that only children who had already received treatment commitments were to be allowed into service. A FAQ document provided to the regional provider agencies outlines responses to potential questions parents and other service providers may ask. Employees were instructed to not deviate from the responses outlined by The Ministry.

Also, if the program was truly out of money, why continue to pay therapists to provide “supports and services” but not intensive therapy?

Talking Point #20: The program has been widely endorsed by parents, experts, autism groups and providers.

Response: Prior to releasing the details of the program, the government showed only vague portions of it to certain stakeholders and very strongly “requested” endorsements. There was no discussion or response to concerns from stakeholders. Minister MacLeod claimed that Autism Ontario endorsed the program and would provide service navigation. A swift response from Autism Ontario denied this and proved both claims false. A supportive parent statement read by the Minister in Parliament was debunked as manipulated. Even the oft-cited support of CHEO was discredited by a February 7th 2019 statement “…we do not yet have the details of what that means or how it will work. We have been advocating to the Ministry for high-quality, evidence-based autism services.”

While many supposedly supportive statements have proven to be misleading, there is no shortage of strongly worded critical statements. The overwhelming response from parents, experts, teachers, clinicians and stakeholders across the board is that this plan goes in the wrong direction and will be damaging to children and families. Dozens of op-eds and letters from concerned stakeholders have been published. Many more have been submitted to MPPs.

Autism Canada released a statement critical of the changes in which they warn: “The plan…is misinformed, disingenuous and vague…It has thrown the autism community into crisis and the resulting impact will be felt across health, education and social services in Ontario for years to come.” On March 7th 2019, Autism Speaks Canada released a statement indicating that “the recommended types, intensity and duration of treatments [for ASD] are highly individualized” and they “strongly encourage that the province revise the program”. Even the government-funded regional service providers have now publicly admonished the program.

Principals, school boards and education workers have issued strong statements of concern over the abrupt transitioning of children from therapy into school, many calling on the government to pause implementation of the new plan until a responsible transition process can be implemented.

Below is just a partial list of dozens of stakeholders who have expressed serious concerns about the program. Can this many experts, stakeholders and community members be wrong? What will it take for the “Government of the People” to listen to the people?

Sign from Autism Rally, Queen’s Park, March 7, 2019

Partial List of Stakeholders who have expressed serious concerns about the negative impacts of this policy on children and families

Organizations & Individuals: Autism Canada, Autism Speaks Canada, Autism Ontario, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Ontario Principals Council, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, the Ontario Secondary School’s Teachers Federation, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Ontario Public School Board Association, Halton Public School Board, York Region District School Board, the Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis, the Ontario New Democratic Party, the Green Party of Ontario, the Liberal Party of Ontario, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Ottawa Catholic District School Board, Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, Ontario Public Services Employee Union, Ontario Disability Coalition, David Lepofsky and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, Ontario Autism Coalition, Students Against Public Education Cuts, the Franco-Ontarian School Directors Association, the Catholic Principals Association of Ontario, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, the Council of Canadians. Michael Taube, Dr. Adrienne Perry, Irwin Elman, and hundreds of individual parents, grandparents, teachers, therapists, clinicians and others.

Regional Autism Providers of Ontario partnership (RAPON; Kinark Child and Family Services, Surrey Place Center, Thames Valley Children’s Center, Children and Community Resource, Maltby Centre) have released public statements admonishing the government’s autism policy

A list of statements from many of these and other figures can be found here.