Here is a letter I wrote to my MPP:

Doug Downey,

How has your week, and your staff’s week, been going? At the good end of the spectrum, I hope. I read that the PC Government was moving to increase spending on the diagnosis of autism.2 This is great news, and will probably save money in long run if we can identify and support kids at a younger age.1

However, the plan for changing services for kids with autism concerns me. First, it’s not needs based,2 but aged based.1,2 This will result in over funding some kids and under funding others.2 Since it’s based on sending money to parents like the BC-model, this means it will have the same failures as the BC model.1 The money doesn’t cover the needs many children have.2 I’m also unclear how giving money to parents rather than paying for services directly would decrease wait times. There are significant savings to be had with a single payer system or the efficiencies of purchasing in bulk.

It seems this goes against what advocates2 and parents1,2 want. I support provincially funded, expert-led, parent inclusive, needs based treatment for children with autism. Sending an arbitrary amount of money to parents will meet the needs of Ontarioans, and puts too much burden on some parents.

  1. How will the proposed Ford Government model work when the BC model has failed to decrease wait times or costs?
  2. What will you do to ensure parents are able to access services once you start sending their families money?
  3. What kind of oversight do you feel would be required to ensure the treatments and clinics parents spend the money on are effective?
  4. How does changing who spends the money change wait list times?
  5. Whose consultation will you value more? Experts, front line workers, the public or parents?

I hope you will be working for effective solutions on this topic. I look forward to hearing how you will work with the rest of your party to change this policy so it will work for families.

Shawn P. Conroy

Notes and additional reading

  1. Ford government to overhaul autism services, give cash directly to families from The Toronto Star
  2. PC staffer quits over what he calls Ontario’s ‘absolutely wrongheaded’ autism plan from CBC News
  3. This time my opening was an intentional joke, unlike my previous email. A strained joke, perhaps. But intentional.
  4. It is the 8th of the month and I have emailed you almost half dozen times. I am feeling it’s overwhelming to keep up with the rate of radical, non-conservative changes coming from the Ford Government. Hopefully this is just a fluke and will settle down going forward.