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Ontario delays new autism program, prompting tears from struggling parents

Parents of children with autism burst into tears today as the provincial government announced another delay in getting their kids the services they need.

Children, Community and Social Services Minister Todd Smith announced that a needs-based program will be phased in over two years, instead of being up and running in April as previously promised.

Parents who were watching the announcement at Queen’s Park, some of them clutching pictures of their children, began weeping and saying, “not good enough.”

Smith says the work has already started, but it is complex and will take time to be fully implemented.

In the meantime, families will get interim funding of either $20,000 or $5,000 to pay for services, depending on their child’s age — the maximum annual amounts they were to get under the now-cancelled plan that was announced earlier this year.

That plan sparked outrage, forcing the government to go back to the drawing board and nearly double the amount of money it will allocate to autism services.

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