I'm hoping that the Global National story will spark some outrage throughout Canada and particularly in Ontario. I think most people believe that autism is like any other medical issue when it come to our health care system. They think that diagnosis and treatment is covered within a reasonable time.
Unfortunately, that just isn't the case. One of the doctors put it quite eloquently: denying a child with autism treatment is like denying insulin to a child with diabetes.
Canada is better than this. Personal income should not determine whether or not a child gets treated.
So here's my plan for the Ontario government:
Pay for private diagnosis until the waitlist is cleared. (Right now, parents are waiting over a year to get diagnosed via the public system. Once the waitlist is clear, the government can get an idea of how many doctors/psychologists they will need to maintain timely diagnosis.)
Pay for parent coaching at a minimum. (Teach parents what to do with their autistic children and more than half the battle is won.)
Ideally, pay for a full time intervention program. Again, pay for private programs until the waitlist for services is cleared. (In some families, both parents need to work in order to make ends meet. They won't have the time and energy to work with their children themselves.)
Allow income splitting for families where one parent stays home to care for an autistic child. (Taxing an 80 000 per year family as two incomes of 40 000 makes a heck of a difference.)
Factor in medical costs and family size when setting up an income cap. (Most respite and help programs have income caps of 70 - 80 000. If you make more than that, you can't apply. However, if a family has to spend 40 000 a year on therapy, that drops their actual income below the poverty line and they could use all the help they could get.)
It's not a complicated plan. Most of it could be put into place very quickly.
Now let's hope someone listens.