An Ontario budget watchdog says the Ford government could eliminate autism service waiting lists — but to do so it would either have to more than double its $600 million annual budget, or cut in half the amount of support provided to each child and youth requiring it.
Here’s a breakdown of some more of the numbers from the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) report.
27,600 — the number of children and youth in Ontario waiting to access public autism services in 2019/20. That’s up from 24,900 in 2018-19.
$1.4 billion — how much the government would need to spend annually (current budget: $600 million) to maintain 2018 service levels and eliminate the waitlist.
25,100 — the number of children with autism in Ontario who did not receive one-time funding to bridge the Ford government’s autism policy flip-flop by the end of the fiscal year on March 31. That’s $174 million of unspent funds compared to $97 million that was spent on 8,100 children.
$8,100 — the average amount the Ford government spent on ‘childhood budgets’ per child in 2019 and 2020, compared to $29,900 the previous Wynne government spent under the Ontario Autism Program in 2018 and 2019, and the $19,800 (in today’s dollars) spent on a different program in place from 2011 to 2017.
$95,000 — the upper end of annual costs that families pay to get behavioural therapy to build language, communication and social skills.
17,860 — the number of youth with autism who could be provided with 2018 levels of support with a $600 million budget. That would be 8,700 more than in 2019-20 and bring the waitlist down to 22,900.
42,000 — the number of children and youth the FAO estimates live with autism in Ontario.
Ontario's budget watchdog @InfoFAO said the province's autism waiting list has grown and @fordnation has been slow to get interim funding out.
Alastair Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer