Transcript: Autism Plan Recommendations for Ontario | Nov 04, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, blue shirt, spotted blue tie, and a red poppy pin.

A caption on screen reads "Autism plan recommendations for Ontario. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says IN THE EARLY DAYS OF
THIS ONTARIO GOVERNMENT'S
MANDATE, IT PROPOSED MAJOR
CHANGES TO PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM.
THAT PROMPTED A HUGE REACTION
FROM FAMILIES AND EXPERTS, WHICH
LED TO A POLICY REVERSAL, THE
SHUFFLING OF THE CABINET
MINISTER RESPONSIBLE, AND THE
CREATION OF A TASK FORCE TO
RECOMMEND A BETTER WAY FORWARD.
LAST WEEK, THE REPORT OF THE
ONTARIO AUTISM PROGRAM ADVISORY
PANEL CAME DOWN.
HERE ON WHAT THEY FOUND, THE
CO-CHAIRS:
MARIE BOUNTROGIANNI, FORMER
ONTARIO MINISTER OF CHILDREN AND
YOUTH AND THE FORMER CHIEF
PSYCHOLOGIST OF THE HAMILTON
WENTWORTH DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD.

Marie is in her fifties, with shoulder-length straight chestnut hair. She's wearing a blue blazer with a red poppy pin, and a patterned burgundy scarf.

Steve continues AND, MARGARET SPOELSTRA,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF AUTISM ONTARIO.

Margaret is in her late fifties, with brown hair and bangs. She's wearing glasses, a black blazer with a red poppy pin, and a gray blouse.

Steve continues MADAM CHAIRS BOTH, WE ARE
DELIGHTED TO WELCOME YOU TO TVO
AGAIN.
MARIE, GET US STARTED HERE.
GIVE US THE BACKGROUND THAT LED
TO YOUR APPOINTMENT AS CO-CHAIR
AND OFF TO THE RACES WE GO.

The caption changes to "Marie Bountrogianni. Former Ontario Children and Youth Minister."
Then, it changes again to "A needs-based program."

Marie says HAVING BEEN THE MINISTER THERE ARE
TOUGH DECISIONS TO MAKE AND THE
FORMER MINISTER, LISA MACLEOD,
MADE DECISIONS.
THEY WERE NOT WELL-ACCEPTED BY
THE AUTISM COMMUNITY.
SO, TO HER CREDIT, SHE DID SOME
CONSULTATIONS IN THE SPRING, AND
THEN WANTED TO FORM A PANEL, A
TASK FORCE, TO LOOK AT THOSE
RECOMMENDATIONS AND COME UP WITH
A NEW PROGRAM.
SHE APPROACHED ME AND ASKED ME
IF I WANTED TO CO-CHAIR.
I ASKED WHO THE OTHER CO-CHAIR
WAS, AND WHEN I WAS TOLD IT WAS
MARGARET SPOELSTRA, I WAS IN,
HAVING A GREAT DEAL OF RESPECT
FOR MARG.
AGAIN TO THE FORMER MINISTER'S
CREDIT, SHE APPOINTED ALL OF THE
MEMBERS OF THE PANEL.
A DIVERSE GROUP.
SOME OF WHICH DIDN'T AGREE WITH
WHAT SHE HAD DONE.
SO THAT TOOK COURAGE.
AND SHE WAS STILL THE MINISTER
WHEN THIS PANEL WAS PUT
TOGETHER.
AND...

Steve says AND THEN GOT
SHUFFLED OUT LATER.

Marie says SHE GOT SHUFFLED OUT LATER,
YES.

Steve says OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE A
FORMER LIBERAL CABINET MINISTER,
AND YET YOU WERE APPOINTED BY A
CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT TO HEAD
OR TO CO-CHAIR A REALLY HOT
TOXIC ISSUE FOR THIS GOVERNMENT.
WHAT DID YOU INFER FROM THAT?

The caption changes to "Marie Bountrogianni. Ontario Autism Program Advisory Panel Co-Chair."

Marie says FIRST I SAID, "ARE YOU SURE?"
BUT I KNEW THAT THIS WAS A VERY
DIFFICULT FILE, VERY EMOTIONAL
FILE.
IT WAS ALSO A CHANCE FOR ME TO
REVISIT A FILE THAT, QUITE
FRANKLY, WE DIDN'T HANDLE VERY
WELL BACK IN THE DAY AS WELL.
IT GAVE ME A CHANCE PERHAPS TO
REMEDY SOME OF THAT.
THERE WERE REASONS FOR WHY WE
HANDLED IT THE WAY WE HANDLED
IT, AND THAT'S ANOTHER SHOW
ABOUT POLITICS.
BUT THAT IS ANOTHER REASON.
YOU KNOW, WHEN A MINISTER ASKS
YOU, WHEN A GOVERNMENT ASKS YOU
TO DO SOMETHING, YOU DO IT.
YOU DO IT OUT OF DUTY.
I ALSO SERVED ON A COMMITTEE FOR
THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION
UNDER STEPHEN HARPER.
AGAIN, YOU DO IT OUT OF DUTY.

Steve says GOTCHA.
MARGARET, OBVIOUSLY YOU BROUGHT
FORWARD A COMPLEX REPORT ON A
COMPLEX SUBJECT THAT HAS
NUMEROUS RECOMMENDATIONS.
WE ARE GOING TO TRY TO KIND OF
SIMPLIFY AS BEST WE CAN HERE SO
PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT PART OF THIS
CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND WHAT'S
GOING ON.
THE REPORT KIND OF HIGHLIGHTS
THAT WHATEVER THE GOVERNMENT
EVENTUALLY BRINGS FORWARD OUGHT
TO BE, QUOTE, UNQUOTE, NEEDS
BASED.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW THAT DIFFERS
FROM WHAT LISA MACLEOD TRIED TO
BRING IN WHEN THE TORIES TOOK
OVER A YEAR AND A HALF AGO?

The caption changes to "Margaret Spoelstra. Autism Ontario."

Margaret says THE EMPHASIS ON NEEDS BASED REALLY
SPEAKS TO A FOCUS ON THE CHILD
AND THEIR FAMILY AND WHAT THE
COMMUNITY CAN OFFER, AND TO BE
BASED ON ASSESSMENT OF THAT
CHILD'S NEEDS AND NOT BASED ON
AN ARBITRARY AMOUNT OF FUNDING
OR A LIMIT IN TERMS OF WHAT YOU
HAVE ACCESS TO THAT CAN SUPPORT
THOSE NEEDS.

Steve says WHICH IS WHAT THE
PREVIOUS ATTEMPT REFLECTED,
RIGHT?

Margaret says YES.

Steve says I GATHER WHAT SHE
WAS TRYING TO DO, LISA MACLEOD,
SHE WAS TRYING TO SAY WE'VE GOT
THIS HORRIBLE BACKLOG.
THE BEST WAY TO EMPTY THE
WAITING LISTS IS TO OFFER FEWER
SERVICES AS A WHOLE AND THAT WAY
WE'LL GET MORE PEOPLE INTO THE
PIPE, SO TO SPEAK.

Margaret says RIGHT.

Steve says WHY WAS THAT SO
OVERWHELMINGLY REJECTED?

The caption changes to "Margaret Spoelstra. Ontario Autism Program Advisory Panel Co-Chair."

Margaret says BECAUSE THE RANGE OF NEED IN
AUTISM IS VERY WIDE, AND YOU
HAVE CHILDREN WITH VERY SPECIFIC
NEEDS, VERY DIVERSE NEEDS, AND
YOU NEED TO REALLY PAY ATTENTION
TO COMPLEX SITUATIONS SOMETIMES,
AND TO LOOK AT WHAT DOES THAT
CHILD NEED AND REALLY BASE IT ON
ASSESSMENT BY PROFESSIONALS WHO
KNOW AND UNDERSTAND AND WHO KNOW
TO WORK WITH FAMILIES, TO
UNDERSTAND THAT MORE CLEARLY.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says I DON'T WANT TO
OVERSIMPLIFY THIS BUT AGAIN IT'S
SUCH A COMPLICATED TOPIC I WANT
TO... HEAR ME OUT AND TELL ME IF
I HAVE THIS RIGHT.
WHEN THE LIBERALS WERE IN, THEY
WERE OFFERING LOTS OF SERVICES,
BUT BECAUSE THEY WERE OFFERING
SO MANY SERVICES, THEY WERE ALSO
VERY HIGH WAITING LISTS TO GET
THOSE SERVICES.
MACLEOD SAID, WE'RE GOING TO
OFFER FEWER SERVICES AND WE'RE
GOING TO REALLY LOWER THE WAIT
LIST AS A RESULT.
THAT WAS VERY UNHAPPY.
THIS WAS VERY UNHAPPY.
DID YOU ESSENTIALLY RECOMMEND
SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE?
FEWER SERVICES... MORE SERVICES
THAN WHAT LISA MACLEOD WAS
RECOMMENDING BUT STILL A BIT OF
A WAIT LIST AND NOT AN EMPTYING
OF THE WAIT LIST EITHER?
IS THAT ESSENTIALLY WHERE WE'RE
AT NOW?

The caption changes to "Marie Bountrogianni, @MBountrogianni."

Marie says I WOULD SAY YOU'RE CLOSE.
WHAT WE DID WAS LISTEN TO A
GREAT DEAL OF CONSULTATIONS AND
WHAT PARENTS TOLD US IS, THEY'D
RATHER WAIT TO GET THE RIGHT
SERVICES FOR THEIR CHILD THAN
GET SOMETHING TOMORROW THAT IS
IRRELEVANT FOR THEIR CHILD.
THAT CAME OUT LOUD AND CLEAR.
AND WHAT WE DID DO, AND I
COMMEND THE AMAZING PANEL FOR
THEIR EXPERTISE AND THEIR
PASSION ON THIS, AND FOR THEIR
COMPROMISE ON THE
RECOMMENDATIONS AS WELL.
WE REALLY CAME TOGETHER.
WHAT THEY RECOMMENDED IS TO
EXPAND CORE SERVICES.
SO E SO YOU'RE RIGHT.
PART OF THE CORE SERVICES NOW
ALSO INCLUDE SPEECH AND LANGUAGE
PATHOLOGY, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY,
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IF YOU
CAN'T FIND THEM WITH THE
MINISTRY OF HEALTH, AS WELL AS
OF COURSE APPLIED BEHAVIOURAL
THERAPY.
IT ALSO LED TO SOME FOUNDATIONAL
SUPPORTS FOR FAMILIES ON THE
WAITING LIST.
SO WHILE THEY'RE WAITING, THEY
GET SOMETHING, BECAUSE THE WAIT
IS VERY DIFFICULT.
AND WE HAVE OTHER PROVISIONS IN
THERE TO OVERSEE THE WAIT LIST,
SO THAT WHEN CHILDREN COME OFF,
OTHERS CAN COME ON IN A MORE
ORGANIZED MANNER.
SO YOU'RE VERY CLOSE IN YOUR
ASSESSMENT.
BUT AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THE
LENGTH OF THE REPORT, IT'S A
LITTLE MORE COMPLICATED THAN
THAT.

Steve says SURE.

Marie says BUT WE WERE ASKED TO DO A
COMPREHENSIVE NEEDS-BASED
STATE-OF-THE-ART PROGRAM.
WE WERE ALSO ASKED TO SEE HOW
EDUCATION AND HEALTH FIT INTO
THIS.
AND WE DID THAT TOO.
WE HAVE SUB COMMITTEES THAT
REFLECTED BACK TO THE BIGGER
COMMITTEE.
WE TOOK LONGER THAN WE WERE
ASKED TO TAKE.
BUT WE HAD A VERY ETHICAL
COMMITTEE.
THEY WEREN'T GOING TO DO
ANYTHING THAT WAS LESS THAN
PRISTINE.

Steve says OKAY.
BUT, MARGARET, TELL ME THIS.
YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS, IF
ADOPTED, WILL NOT EMPTY THE WAIT
LISTS, RIGHT?
THERE WILL STILL BE WAIT LISTS.
ARE THERE GOING TO BE CHILDREN
WHO WILL THEREFORE NOT GET
SERVICES BECAUSE THEY WILL,
QUOTE, UNQUOTE, AGE OUT BEFORE
THEY CAN GET SERVED?

The caption changes to "Wait times."

Margaret says WELL,
THE WAY WE BUILT THIS PROGRAM'S
RECOMMENDATIONS WAS WITH A VIEW
TO NOT HAVE A WAITING LIST, SO
THAT IN THE IDEAL SCENARIO, THAT
CHILDREN WOULD MOVE THROUGH THIS
LIST AND THAT THE SERVICES THAT
MARIE REFERRED TO, LOOKING AT
EDUCATION AND HEALTH, WOULD ALSO
CONTRIBUTE TO LOOKING AT THAT
CHILD IN A FOCUSED WAY, IN A
HOLISTIC WAY.
BUT WE ALSO TALKED ABOUT THE
IMPORTANCE OF EARLY
INTERVENTION.
SO THAT IS NEW IN THIS STORY.
AND SO WE REALLY UNDERSTOOD THE
IMPORTANCE OF THOSE YOUNG KIDS
GETTING SOMETHING EARLY ON, AND
SO ONE OF THE KEY
RECOMMENDATIONS IS FOR
PARENT-MEDIATED INVOLVEMENT, SO
THAT THE PARENTS ARE LEARNING
WHILE THOSE KIDS HAVE AN
OPPORTUNITY, WHEN THEY'RE
LITTLE, WHEN WE KNOW IT CAN HAVE
A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THEIR
DEVELOPMENT, AND THAT PIECE IS
SOMETHING THAT MADE US FEEL
REALLY PROUD OF OUR WORK.

Steve says FROM WHAT I
UNDERSTAND, THE EXPECTATIONS
AMONG THE FAMILIES INVOLVED,
FAMILIES... PARENTS WITH
AUTISTIC CHILDREN IS THE
GOVERNMENT WAS GOING TO
SIGNIFICANTLY SPEND MORE IN
ORDER TO DEAL WITH THIS, AS MUCH
AS 600 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.
I THINK THEY WERE UNDER THE
IMPRESSION THAT THEY WOULD BE
GETTING THAT MONEY IN YEAR ONE.
IT SEEMS NOW THE EXPECTATION IS
THAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY SPEND
THAT MUCH IN YEAR FOUR.
CAN YOU HELP US UNDERSTAND HOW
MUCH MONEY IS GOING TO BE SPENT
AND WHETHER IT'S GOING TO BE
ADEQUATE?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Marie says WE
WERE TOLD IT'S 600 MILLION DOLLARS A
YEAR AND THAT'S STARTING IN
APRIL WITH A NEW BUDGET.
THAT'S WHEN THIS PROGRAM WILL BE
IMPLEMENTED.
WE WERE NOT TOLD YEAR 4.

Steve says SO YOU'RE OF THE
UNDERSTANDING THAT THAT
600 MILLION DOLLARS IS GOING TO BE
SPENT STARTING IN THE SPRING.

Marie says YES.

Steve says YOU HAVE EVERY
EXPECTATION THAT WILL HAPPEN.

Marie says NOT
ONLY THAT WE HAVE AN
IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE THAT
WILL GIVE ADVICE AND QUITE
HONESTLY OVERSEE WHAT WE
RECOMMENDED.

Steve says HERE'S THE NEXT
RECOMMENDATION.
ARE THERE ADEQUATE... YOU CAN
SPEND 600 MILLION DOLLARS BUT YOU HAVE
TO HAVE THE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO
CAN ACTUALLY DELIVER THE
SERVICES.
DOES THIS PROVINCE HAVE THE
RESOURCES TO ACTUALLY DO THIS?

Margaret says WE HAVE A GOOD START...

Steve says THAT SOUNDS LIKE A NO.

The caption changes to "Margaret Spoelstra, @MSAutismOntario."

Margaret says IT IS A NO.
RIGHT NOW, IF WE OPENED THE
DOORS AND SAID, EVERYBODY CAN
GET SERVED TODAY, WE WOULDN'T
HAVE THE CAPACITY TO DO IT.
SO IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT
THAT CAPACITY BE BUILT IN ALL OF
THESE PROFESSIONAL AREAS THAT
HAVE BEEN RECOMMENDED FOR CORE
SERVICES, AND THAT WE REALLY
LOOK AT MAKING SURE THAT AS
WE... AGAIN, I'LL REFER TO THE
EDUCATION AND HEALTH PIECES.
WHEN THOSE PIECES ARE WORKING
WELL, WHEN THOSE MINISTRIES ARE
PROVIDING THE SUPPORTS THAT
WE'VE MADE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
IN THIS REPORT, WE'RE HOPING
THAT IT MAY HELP ALLEVIATE THE
PRESSURES THAT ARE CURRENTLY ON
M.C.C.S.S. IT SHOULDN'T BE THE
ONLY MINISTRY...

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says OOH, ACRONYM,
ACRONYM, ACRONYM.
WHAT IS IT?

Margaret says MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND
COMMUNITY SOCIAL SERVICES.
IT SHOULD NOT BE A SINGLE
MINISTRY.
WE ABSOLUTELY NEED OUR
MINISTRIES TO WORK TOGETHER AND
TO PROVIDE THOSE SUPPORTS FOR
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES WHEN THEY
NEED IT AND THAT THEY'RE PRESENT
AND AVAILABLE TO DO WHAT WE KNOW
IS ALREADY EVIDENCE-BASED AND
WHERE THEY CAN SHOW THEIR BEST
PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE IN ALL
AREAS OF A CHILD'S HEALTH AND
DEVELOPMENT.

Steve says LET ME GO OFF THE
PATH FOR A SECOND HERE.
IF YOU ARE IN GRADE 12 NOW OR
MAYBE EVEN FIRST YEAR COLLEGE OR
UNIVERSITY, THIS IS SADLY A
GROWTH INDUSTRY, ISN'T IT?
WE NEED MORE PEOPLE IN THIS
FIELD.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND, LIKE, YOUNG
PEOPLE GO INTO THIS FIELD,
BECAUSE YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A
JOB SOMEWHERE DOWN THE ROAD IF
YOU GO INTO THIS, AREN'T YOU?

Marie says ABSOLUTELY.
PSYCHOLOGISTS, SOCIAL WORKERS,
AND APPLIED BEHAVIOURAL
THERAPISTS AS WELL AS SPEECH AND
LANGUAGE PATHOLOGISTS AS WELL AS
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS.
ANOTHER ROLE THAT WE HAVE
RECOMMENDED IS A CARE
COORDINATOR.
BASICALLY A CASE MANAGER, BUT
MORE THAN A CASE MANAGER, SO
THAT FAMILIES CAN LEVERAGE WHAT
THE GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENTS
EASILY.
WE WERE TOLD IN OUR
CONSULTATIONS THAT FAMILIES FIND
IT A JUNGLE, PARTICULARLY THOSE
WHOSE ENGLISH IS A SECOND
LANGUAGE, INDIGENOUS CITIZENS AS
WELL AS PEOPLE IN...

Steve says NORTHERN ONTARIO,
ESPECIALLY.
IF YOU LIVE IN NORTHERN ONTARIO
RIGHT NOW, ALREADY YOU'RE
GETTING FEWER SERVICES THAN
PEOPLE WHO LIVE DOWN SOUTH.
HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO HANDLE
THIS?

Margaret says THOSE FAMILIES ARE LOOKING AT
THIS AND SAYING, WHAT'S IN IT
FOR US?
WE ALREADY KNOW THAT WE DON'T
HAVE ACCESS TO SOME OF THOSE
PROFESSIONALS.
OUR CHOICES ARE LIMITED.
AND WE HAVE TO TRAVEL GREAT
DISTANCES.
SO WE SPENT A FAIR BIT OF TIME
LOOKING AT THE RECOMMENDATION
FROM THOSE COMMUNITIES, AND AS
WELL THE WORK OF THE
IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE THAT
MARIE REFERRED TO IS GOING TO BE
CRITICALLY IMPORTANT IN MAKING
SURE THAT THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS
GET IMPLEMENTED SO THAT PEOPLE
HAVE ACCESS TO THE PROFESSIONALS
THAT THEY NEED.

Steve says WE WERE TOLD ONCE
UPON A TIME THAT THERE ARE
LITERALLY THOUSANDS UPON
THOUSANDS OF NAMES ON THE WAIT
LIST WAITING TO GET SERVICES.
WHAT'S A REASONABLE EXPECTATION
OF HOW LONG THAT WAIT LIST OUGHT
TO BE ONCE NEXT SPRING COMES,
THE MONEY STARTS TO FLOW, THE
SERVICES START TO BE DELIVERED?

Margaret says WELL, IN THE IDEAL WORLD,
PEOPLE WOULDN'T WAIT.
AS I WAS SAYING EARLIER.

Steve says WE DON'T LIVE IN AN
IDEAL WORLD.

Margaret says WE DON'T LIVE IN AN IDEAL
WORLD.
I DON'T KNOW AT THIS POINT WHAT
THAT MEANS.
I THINK PART OF WHAT WE NEED...
WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO FOCUS ON
AS WELL IS, AS FAMILIES START TO
MOVE INTO THIS NEW PROGRAM, THE
NEW OAP, IS WE TAKE REALLY
CAREFUL DATA ABOUT WHAT IT IS
THEY'RE ACTUALLY ASKING FOR, HOW
LONG ARE THEY HAVING TO WAIT FOR
EACH OF THE INDIVIDUAL AREAS
THAT WE IDENTIFIED AS CORE
SERVICES, AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN
TO WAIT IF YOU LIVE IN THUNDER
BAY VERSUS IF YOU LIVE IN
TORONTO FOR SPEECH LANGUAGE
SERVICES, FOR INSTANCE.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WAIT FOR
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN
WINDSOR?
AND ALL THOSE STORIES, THOSE
FAMILIES WILL TELL YOU THAT
THEIR STORIES ARE DIFFERENT AND
WE ALREADY KNOW THAT WAITING
VARIED IN THE PROVINCE.
BUT IDEALLY, THE WAITING IS NOT
GOING TO BE A BARRIER TO THAT
CHILD'S DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH.
SO I WISH... I WOULD LIKE TO SEE
IT THAT YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED
WHEN YOU NEED IT.
ONE OF THE OTHER THINGS THAT GOT
RECOMMENDED IN THIS REPORT IS
ACCESS TO CRISIS SUPPORT.
WHEN THERE'S GOING... WE KNOW
THAT THERE ARE ALREADY CHILDREN
WHO ARE STRUGGLING, SYSTEMS ARE
NOT ABLE TO RESPOND, AND SO WE
NEED TO BRING THE PROFESSIONALS
TOGETHER TO REALLY HAVE
WRAP-AROUND SERVICES FOR THAT
CHILD AND THAT FAMILY, AND
REALLY THE FOCUS NEEDS TO BE ON
FAMILY HERE.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN THIS
PARTICULAR SITUATION AND HOW DO
WE GET THOSE SUPPORTS QUICKLY TO
THOSE FAMILIES?

Steve says YOUR POLITICAL
ANTENNA ARE GOOD.
WHEN LISA MACLEOD UNVEILED IT,
THERE WERE PROTESTS AT QUEEN'S PARK.
THAT DOG WAS NOT GOING TO HUNT.
THE GOVERNMENT HAS INDICATED
IT'S GOING TO ACCEPT THEM, IT'S
GOING TO PUT 600 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE
NEXT BUDGET TOWARDS IT, HOW DO
YOU READ THE PARENT COMMUNITY
RIGHT NOW AND WHETHER THEY'RE
SATISFIED WITH THIS?

The caption changes to "Onwards and upwards?"

Marie says I THINK THEY'RE SATISFIED WITH THE
REPORT.
WE'VE HAD GOOD... VERY GOOD FEEDBACK.
BUT THEY'RE ALSO A LITTLE
UNTRUSTWORTHY OF ALL OF US, ALL
POLITICAL PARTIES, AND THEY'RE
WAITING TO SEE IF THEY WON'T BE
HEART BROKEN AGAIN.
AND I DON'T BLAME THEM.
THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY CHANGES
TO THE PROGRAM OVER THE LAST 20
YEARS.
SO THAT'S WHAT THE
IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE WILL
HOPEFULLY DO, IS ADVISE THE
GOVERNMENTS TO GO AHEAD.
THERE ARE CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO
THE ISSUES THAT YOU'VE JUST
TALKED ABOUT.
WE HAD A SHORTAGE OF DOCTORS...
WE STILL HAVE A SHORTAGE OF
DOCTORS IN RURAL AND NORTHERN
ONTARIO, BUT WE HAVE INCENTIVES
FOR DOCTORS, FOR THEIR TUITION
TO BE PAID WHILE THEY'RE MEDICAL
STUDENTS IN EXCHANGE FOR WORKING
IN THE NORTH.
WE HAD THAT AT LEAST WHEN WE
WERE IN GOVERNMENT.
PERHAPS A SOLUTION LIKE THAT.
THERE ARE SOLUTIONS.
THERE'S ALWAYS SOLUTIONS...

Steve says I WAS ACTUALLY GOING
TO ASK YOU THAT.
YOU HAVING SAT AROUND A CABINET
TABLE KNOW ALL TOO WELL, THERE
ARE SOME ISSUES FOR WHICH THERE
IS NO SOLUTION.
IS THERE A SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM?

Marie says THERE ABSOLUTELY IS.
AS A FORMER PSYCHOLOGIST, I CAN
SAY THAT IF A FAMILY WAITS MORE
THAN THREE TO SIX MONTHS FOR
SOMETHING... IT MIGHT NOT BE
EXACTLY WHAT THE TREATMENT
SHOULD BE RIGHT AWAY... BUT IF
THEY DON'T GET ANYTHING, RADIO
SILENCE, AND THEY'RE STRUGGLING
ON THEIR OWN FOR THREE TO SIX
MONTHS, YOU'RE LOSING A LOT OF
POTENTIAL BENEFITS FOR THAT
CHILD.
AND I KNOW THAT, AS A FORMER
CLINICIAN.
SO THERE ARE CHILDREN AND
FAMILIES THAT HAVE BEEN WAITING
FOR YEARS.
THEY MAY NOT EVEN NEED WHAT THEY
THINK THEY NEED BECAUSE THEY
DON'T KNOW.
AND THIS IS WHERE THE EARLY
INTERVENTION, EARLY ASSESSMENT
WILL COME IN.

Steve says DO YOU THINK THAT
PARENTS ARE PREPARED AT THIS
POINT TO SORT OF FORGIVE AND
FORGET THE MISSTEPS OF THIS
GOVERNMENT OVER THE FIRST, SAY,
14 MONTHS THEY WERE IN POWER ON
THIS FILE?

Margaret says THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY
CHANGES TO AUTISM PROGRAMS OVER
SEVERAL YEARS AND I THINK
PARENTS ARE WEARY MORE THAN THEY
ARE IN A POSITION TO THINK ABOUT
FORGETTING.
AND WHEN YOU'RE FEELING LIKE
EVERY TIME THERE'S A NEW THING
YOU HAVE TO GET FAMILIAR WITH,
TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU ARE
ON A WAITING LIST, TRY TO FIGURE
OUT WHEN IS YOUR CHILD GOING TO
GET WHAT THEY NEED, WHEN YOU
FIND OUT YOUR CHILD IS BEING
SENT HOME FROM SCHOOL BECAUSE
THEY DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES IN
SCHOOL TO SUPPORT THAT CHILD,
IT'S EASY TO SEE FAMILIES... WE
SEE THEM FEELING EXHAUSTED AND
WE SEE THEM FEELING DISCOURAGED
ABOUT THAT, SO I THINK THE FACT
THAT WE ACTUALLY SAW SUCH
POSITIVE RESPONSES TO THE REPORT
IS, I THINK, WHAT... THE SMALL
AMOUNT WE CAN ASK FOR AT THIS
POINT, AND I THINK UNTIL WE
ACTUALLY... THE PROOF IS IN THE
PUDDING.
IF THIS PROGRAM GETS
IMPLEMENTED, THEN THAT'S WHEN
FAMILIES WILL BE ABLE TO WEIGH
IN AND SAY, THIS HAS MADE A
DIFFERENCE AND WE CAN TALK ABOUT
HOW WE ASSIGN CREDIT.

Steve says YOU SAY IF THIS
PROGRAM IS IMPLEMENTED.
IT'S NOT A SLAM DUNK THAT IT'S
GOING TO HAPPEN?

Margaret says WE'VE HEARD PROMISES FROM THE
MINISTER...

Steve says THAT'S THE NEW
MINISTER, TODD SMITH.

Margaret says THE MINISTER HAS SAID THAT
THIS IS THE PROGRAM THEY'RE
PLANNING TO IMPLEMENT.
AND WE HAVE EVERY REASON TO
BELIEVE THAT THAT WILL BE
BROUGHT FORWARD, AND WE KNOW
PARENTS WILL HOLD HIS FEET TO
THE FIRE, AS WE SAY, AND THAT WE
HOPE THAT PEOPLE FROM THE PANEL
THAT WE WERE BOTH ON WILL BE
INCLUDED IN THE NEW
IMPLEMENTATION PANEL SO THAT WE
HAVE A SEAMLESS PROCESS HERE AND
GET THIS GOING BETWEEN NOW AND
APRIL SO THAT THE WORK CAN
ALREADY START.

Steve says LET ME CLARIFY THAT.
YOU HAVE DONE YOUR WORK ON THE
TASK FORCE.
YOU HAVE NOT BEEN INVITED YET TO
JOIN THE IMPLEMENTATION PANEL?

Marie says NO.

Margaret says NO, BUT THE PROCESS HASN'T
BEGUN YET.

Marie says IT'S VERY NEW.
WE WON'T ALL BE ON THE
IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE.
WE RECOMMENDED A FEW, A SAMPLE OF...

Steve says OKAY.
I DID READ SOMETHING IN
PREPARATION FOR THIS FROM ONE
PARENT WHO SAID, YOU KNOW, THEY
BETTER KEEP THE GRASS CUT AT
QUEEN'S PARK BECAUSE WE'LL BE
BACK THERE BEFORE LONG
PROTESTING LIKE CRAZY IF THESE
GUYS DON'T MAKE GOOD ON WHAT
THEY SAID THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE
GOOD ON.
AND THEY SHOULD, RIGHT?

Marie says ABSOLUTELY.

The caption changes to "Producer: Meredith Martin, @MeredithMartin."

Steve says THAT'S REALLY HELPFUL.
IF YOU VERY MUCH TO MARGARET
SPOELSTRA AND MARIE
BOUNTROGIANNI FOR COMING IN TO
TVO TONIGHT AND HELPING US OUT
WITH THIS.
THANKS SO MUCH.

Marie says PLEASURE.

Margaret says THANK YOU.

Watch: Autism Plan Recommendations for Ontario