'This is not new money': Autism advocates react to feds funding announcement
Published Monday, August 19, 2019 4:40PM EDT Last Updated Monday, August 19, 2019 7:19PM EDT
The federal government made a campaign-style announcement on Monday to increase funding for specific programs to support adults living with autism and their caregivers.
A release from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Pam Damoff, states, "It gives me great pride to announce six new initiatives to help Canadians living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) live life to the fullest."
The new initiatives will be supported by more than $3 million in funding and an additional $1.1 million of in-kind support from partner organizations.
"These community-based projects across the country address a broad range of issues, from mental health to sexuality and employment," Damoff states.
Amanda Baysarowich, founder of IBI Behavioural Services in Barrie, tells CTV News the goal should still be needs-based therapy. "It's very important to understand that this is not new money. This is money that was already there, and it is being allocated, at this point, to these six initiatives."
An emotional Jamie Peddle was at the federal announcement and says he wants more done to help his seven-year-old son. "Jacob has severe autism. Jacob is my world and my life." Peddle said he is frustrated with the Trudeau government. "I'm fighting for him today. Because our government, our country is letting us down and this is not right."
Baysarowich says the federal funding should be used to support the Ontario Autism Program. "I think spending money to hand out pamphlets at York University isn't exactly a good way to spend the funds. It could be allocated towards kids sitting on waitlists, languishing on waitlists, right now and not even accessing services at this point."
The announcement on Monday made no mention of funding for therapies.