November 6, 2019 - We are encouraged by the Government of Ontario’s renewed pledge to better address the needs of children with autism and their families through the commitment made in the Fall Economic Statement that an additional $279 million investment in the Ontario Autism Program will be made, bringing the total investment for that program to $600 million annually. Several of our member centres provide autism services and up to 70% of children with autism are dually diagnosed with a second mental health condition, and up to 40% are diagnosed with two or more mental health conditions. We were pleased with the recent recommendations from the Autism Advisory Panel including that investments be made by the government to access effective mental health supports and to establish an autism and mental health working group. We look forward to closely collaborating with the government to ensure the successful implementation of a new autism program that is in the best interests of Ontario children, youth and families. 

We also want to acknowledge the mention of the Ontario government’s investment of $3.8 billion in the Ontario mental health care system over the next decade, starting with $174 million this year, but improved policy and investments to support children and youth with mental issues can't wait. Too many children and their families are still waiting for the right services at the right time in their communities.