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Fedeli says 41 northern families involved in Ontario Autism Program pilot

'I'm shocked to see France Gélinas misleading people about the Ontario Autism Program'

NORTH BAY - The Ontario Autism Program pilot that was announced in February will have 41 northern Ontario families participating says Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli.

He is responding to Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas who said she was shocked last week when the Northern Ontario Autism Alliance informed her that no one, "not them or their allied advocacy groups, or service providers or support groups have been able to identify a single northern Ontario family who have received an invitation to participate in the pilot program."

"Northern Ontario represents about six per cent of our province's population and has a diverse population including First Nations and Francophones living in urban and rural environments," said Gélinas. "If this pilot program was run equitably there should be more than 30 families from north of the French River in this study, but there's zero."

That's untrue says Fedeli. "She's flat out wrong."

Six hundred children and youth from across the province will be invited to participate in the new program and Fedeli says northern families are part of the new needs-based funding pilot program.

"I'm shocked to see France Gélinas misleading people about the Ontario Autism Program. She claims proportionately there should be more than 30. I can tell her that if she'd asked she would have learned that there are actually 41 of the 600 are from the north."

Fedeli says like all 600 families, the northern ones are being assessed and receiving their allotment.

"Once we know this pilot assessment tool is working it will be rolled out across the province to all 8,000 families."

The new assessment tool was developed by the Ministry of Health, which will do an assessment of the tool shortly, and if it's successful will be rolled out.

"At the same time, every child who is registered with the Ontario Autism Program is receiving support from the Province," explains Fedeli. "That's versus only 25 per cent of kids that were covered under the previous Liberal government. We've doubled the budget from 300 to 600 million. We' can't have this misinformation spread by members of the NDP, that's just not fair to the families."


Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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