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Press Releases 2007

February 23, 2007

For Immediate Release



Focuses on eliminating wait list, respecting parents and supporting children


(Queen's Park) Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees, the PC Education and Citizenship & Immigration Critic today joined with PC Party Leader John Tory in announcing a plan to help children with autism and their parents obtain the services they need.


"Autism is not just a challenge for individual children, but for entire families," said Klees. "Right now, the parents of more than 1,200 children under the age of six with autism are feeling abandoned. Their children languish on a growing waiting list for vital treatments that have been proven to work."


Tory released the PC Party Autism Policy at Children at Risk, Ottawa , an organization that provides training and support to families with children who are diagnosed within the Autism Spectrum Disorders. The plan, that would cost an additional $75 million annually and would be implemented after the October election, has several elements, including:


  • Clearing the wait list for treatment for children with autism who are under the age of six;
  • Partnering with educators, child support workers and school boards to ensure that upon reaching school age, children with autism have the supports they need;
  • Providing flexibility and choice for parents by giving them the option of whether to use regional service providers for autism therapy or take direct funding for accredited outside providers instead;
  • Streamlining support for children with autism by increasing direct funding options and improving the assessment and regulatory environment;
  • Expanding respite programs so parents and children with autism can have the opportunity to engage the broader community and develop other experiences.


"I welcome the timely leadership of John Tory on this issue," Klees said.  "This plan details specifically and precisely how a John Tory government will succeed on behalf of families with children with autism where the McGuinty Liberals have failed."


Klees has been actively advocating on behalf of autistic children and their parents in his role as PC Education Critic, and played a key role in developing the Tory plan.  He has repeatedly raised the issue in the Legislature and has condemned Dalton McGuinty for breaking his promise to act on behalf of parents of autistic children.   see "Children's Services")


"Parents of children with autism are tired of unfulfilled promises," said Klees.  "They want to be able to rely on real leadership, the kind of leadership that will provide them with the supports and programs their children need today."


"Today's announcement marks a turning point for autistic children in the province of Ontario and I am proud to stand with my leader, John Tory, in letting their parents know that we have listened to their concerns and that we will be taking the determined steps to ensure they receive the help they require and deserve!"






Policy Questions and Answers



For further information

Frank Klees, MPP