December 17, 2019 - Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) and Empowered Kids Ontario-Enfants Avenir Ontario (EKO-EAO) are pleased by the Government of Ontario’s announcement today that they are moving towards implementing some of the key recommendations of the Ontario Autism Advisory Panel for a new needs-based autism program.

While CMHO and EKO-EAO have not yet reviewed the province of Ontario’s new autism program changes in detail, today’s actions signal that the government is moving forward.

“We are pleased that the Government of Ontario is responding to the Ontario Advisory Panel’s recommendations and the needs of children with autism and their families,” said Jennifer Churchill, CEO of EKO-EAO. “The accredited public providers of CMHO and EKO-EAO have professional staff, the expertise and commitment to deliver the programs that families and the advisory panel say that are needed. People have been waiting for action and we are ready, willing and able to further help Ontario families of children with autism.”

The additional announcement that an implementation working group has been formed which will begin work in the new year is also welcome news. “We congratulate those appointed to the implementation working group and look forward to collaborating with them, families of children with autism and the Government of Ontario to ensure the stability of a high-calibre revitalized autism program, added Churchill.”

Public service providers which together support up to 70 per cent of all families currently receiving autism services in the province are essential to the success of the new Ontario Autism Program.

Families and children with autism require integrated services to achieve best outcomes. As experts at delivering and navigating integrated services including mental health supports, the autism and mental health service providers of CMHO and EKO-EAO are uniquely prepared to support families with integrated services.  

“We are looking forward to supporting families with the right services and to make sure everyone who needs it has access to the integrated autism services and supports that we can provide, said Kim Moran, CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario.”

CMHO and EKO-EAO are optimistic that the key elements in the new autism program are a strong foundation on which to rebuild the capacity for the provision of autism services that has eroded in some regions of the province, especially in Northern Ontario.  We are fully committed to beginning right away to work with families and the government to implement, and critically, sustain, this vision and make the program work for the thousands of waiting children.