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EKO Welcomes Additional Investment in the OAP

March 27, 2024

The 2024/25 provincial budget, Building a Better Ontario, includes an increase in the government’s investment in the Ontario Autism Program of $120 million, double the increase last year. The government says the funding supports its commitment to enrol 20,000 children and youth in core clinical services. Empowered Kids Ontario-Enfants Avenir Ontario welcomes this investment.

Documents obtained through a freedom-of-information request last summer showed there were 8,758 children whose families had signed funding agreements for core clinical services, although the number of kids receiving services has not been reported. News reports indicate the number is increasing and is now roughly equivalent to the number of kids who received publicly funded core clinical services five years ago, before the New OAP was introduced. 

In 2019 sweeping changes to the Ontario Autism Program triggered the defunding of publicly funded providers of autism services. While families previously had a choice of accessing public or private providers, the New OAP gives funding directly to families to purchase services. Along with this change, the government doubled its investment in diagnostic hubs, and a new agency was established to help families register for the OAP, assess funding for their child’s needs, and support families in choosing which services to purchase.

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