Ontario autism expert panel recommends some caps on services


TORONTO — An expert panel is recommending that some limits on services remain in a new Ontario Autism Program.

The panel, made up of parents, autistic adults, psychologists and behavioural analysts, was appointed after a massive outcry forced the government to backtrack on its plan.

That program would have seen families receiving a maximum of $20,000 a year for kids under six, with funding dropping to $5,000 per year until they were 18, based on family income.

Families launched waves of protests, saying that services should be based on a child’s need, not income.

The previous minister responsible was demoted, and new Children, Community and Social Services Minister Todd Smith has committed to a new program that is based on needs.

The panel’s report, published today, says that annual caps on services will be unavoidable so that as many children as possible are served and the program is sustainable.