The Ontario Autism Coalition is determined to get the political parties on the record in the Ontario Election 2007 with clear, specific answers to important autism questions. Ontario autism families were burned the last time out by the Promise Breaker, Ontario Liberal Leader and current Premier, Dalton McGuinty. The OAC will not be fooled in this election and is working hard at forging a political-social-moral contract with each party with respect to autism issues in Ontario. The precedent set by the OAC could be helpful in other elections across Canada, including the federal election expected, by some, to take place in the next year.
Formal Presentation of OAC "Ask" to All Political Parties in OntarioThe Ontario Autism Coalition (OAC) is a grassroots organization with over 600 active members throughout the Province of Ontario. Our members are connected to thousands of families and supporters affected by autism. The OAC is determined to ensure the delivery of services and supports to families and individuals with Autism in the Province of Ontario.As political parties in the Province of Ontario prepare for a Provincial election this fall, the OAC seeks commitment from all Provincial parties and has therefore sent the following letter to the leaders of each party (Liberal, PC, NDP, Green Party) and has asked for their response in writing by September 14, 2007. The OAC will then communicate their responses with the entire autism community and the media.
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Sent: Tuesday, September 4, 2007 10:08:52 PM Subject: Ontario Autism Coalition: REQUEST FOR POLICY INFORMATION
As we near the official start of the provincial election campaign, I am writing to you on behalf of the Ontario Autism Coalition (the "OAC") to askfor information on your party's autism policy.
The OAC is a grassroots advocacy group made up of concerned parents, relatives and friends of children with autism. The group formed in 2005 and has since grown into an Ontario-wide organization with over 600 members. We receive no government funding, and we are not a charity. We are focused on direct political action to bring about positive changes for our children. Between 2005 and 2007, the OAC organized over 20 rallies to draw public attention to the need for publicly funded programs that effectively meet the needs of individuals in the Autism community. The OAC has also met with numerous government policy advisors, senior provincial Cabinet Ministers and M.P.P.’s from each of Ontario’s three major political parties.
The OAC is committed to placing autism issues front and centre in the upcoming provincial election campaign. We will be hosting events, issuing press releases and organizing parents throughout the upcoming weeks to ensure that all candidates—as well as our fellow citizens—are aware of our concerns.
The OAC is asking for a written response from you and your party to the following three points:
1) We want the next provincial government to allow Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) instructor therapists currently working within the Autism Intervention Program (AIP) entry into the school system so that scientifically valid, supervised Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) can be implemented. Children receiving intensive ABA through the AIP and students attending school should receive the same quality of ABA services.
2) We want the next provincial government to eliminate the wait list in the AIP and fully fund services for all children with Autism—from the mild to severe end of the Autism Spectrum.
3) We want the next provincial government to develop a formal credentialing system and a proper training and recruitment system for the implementation of ABA to ensure accountability and capacity within the system.
We are sending this request not only to you, but to all parties—Liberal, Progressive Conservative, New Democrat and Green. We would appreciate receiving an official response from you no later than Friday, September 14, 2007. Your leaders and/or local candidates are also welcome to respond by attending our Autism Day of Action the following day. On Saturday, September 15th, we’ll be holding events in several different cities—you can get more details by visiting our website athttp://www.ontarioautismcoalition.com.
While we are happy to receive any feedback you may wish to share, we encourage you to respond specifically to the three points we’ve mentioned above. We will post your responses on our website and share them with our members and with the public over the course of the campaign. If you have any documents, links or video messages you would like us to place on our website, we would be happy to receive them as well.
If you have any questions or if you are interested in meeting in person, please feel free to contact me. Enjoy the campaign!
Laura Kirby-McIntosh Co-founder, Ontario Autism Coalition Phone: 905-761-5226 E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org