On December 17, 2019, the honorable Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS), presented new information regarding the framework for a new sustainable, needs-based Ontario Autism Program.
Hands is committed to our vision to improve the well-being of families and our communities. Over the past few months, in the lead up to this announcement, Hands personnel has been working closely with families, the Ministry and the Ontario Autism Advisory Panel to provide recommendations reflecting the unique needs of Northern Ontario residents and communities.
Hands appreciates the Ontario Government’s pointed recognition of the specific needs of our Northern and Indigenous communities, and the government’s willingness to work with us, our partners, and families to develop and implement a workable and feasible plan that supports all families and communities. Hands also empathizes with families frustrated or confused by the changes to the government’s Autism services, and the measured pace of implementation.
As a leading agency in Autism services in Ontario, Hands will continue to take a leadership role in the solutions that will improve the service experience for Northern families. Our existing expertise in utilizing technology to deliver programs in rural areas will continue to be a significant asset for families in the North and is expected to play a large role in the forthcoming system, as referenced in the Ontario Autism Advisory Panel report.
Hands will continue to work collaboratively with our many dedicated Autism service partners throughout the province to serve families and communities as the new Ontario Autism Program is developed and fine-tuned.
We will continue to work with the government and the families and children in our region beyond April 2020 when the government has specified the first phase of the new Ontario Autism Program will be in place.
Through each implementation phase of the new Ontario Autism Program, Hands remains committed to improving the well-being of families and our communities.