NDP Renews Calls For Ford Minister Lisa Macleod To Resign, Autism Program To Be Fixed
“Minister MacLeod mislead the very families she’s tasked with helping, and demanded that service providers hide the truth about the frozen wait lists. How many children were kept on the wait list when they could have received support?” – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath
A News Release from Ontario’s NDP and Official Opposition Party
Posted February 25th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
New documents reveal that Doug Ford and Lisa MacLeod froze autism therapy wait lists five months ago, and instructed autism service organizations to hide that freeze from parents.
Now, the NDP is renewing calls for a revamp before the cuts are implemented, as well as calls for MacLeod to resign — for lying to parents, for threatening those who don’t support her cuts, and, most of all, for ripping treatment and hope away from children.
“By cutting autism therapy for thousands of kids, Lisa MacLeod is snuffing out hope, and robbing them of the opportunity to progress and develop,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “The fact that she and Mr. Ford actually ripped that hope away months ago, but decided to lie to parents about it, is reprehensible.”
Families of children living with autism joined the NDP at the legislature again Monday to demand better — a battle they’ve been forced to fight on behalf of their children since the underfunded and inadequate Liberal program let them down.
Horwath demanded answers about MacLeod’s lies during question period Monday.
“Minister MacLeod mislead the very families she’s tasked with helping, and demanded that service providers hide the truth about the frozen wait lists. How many children were kept on the wait list when they could have received support?” asked Horwath. “And why did she do this to children?
“Families deserve answers, and a minister that they can trust. Most of all, families deserve more opportunity and care for their children living with autism, not less.”
Only families with a household income of $55,000 or less will receive the maximum amounts under the Ontario Autism Program (OAP)—funding that parents say is already far too low to help children with high needs.
NDP Children and Youth Services critic Monique Taylor (Hamilton Mountain) said that families are worried that the April 1 deadline for the new OAP will bring even more cuts.
“For months, Ford and MacLeod hid the truth from families, froze waitlists and worked in the back rooms on a scheme that cuts services from children that need them the most,” said Taylor. “It’s time for Doug Ford to do the right thing, direct Lisa MacLeod to step aside, and fix this program so children get the support they need to build their best life in Ontario.”
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