TORONTO – “Cuts and delays to the Ontario Autism Program by Doug Ford’s Conservatives have been disastrous for many families across Ontario, who have children stuck on long and growing waitlists. Ontario Liberals will work with families to finally get this fixed, ” said Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca.
Ontario Liberals will:
Implement a needs-based Ontario Autism Program for every child, including Applied Behavioural Analysis, occupational therapy, mental health and speech and language pathology
Hire 5,000 more special education workers and reduce wait times for school services for students with autism
Implement a direct billing option for autism therapy
Conduct a comprehensive reform of special education and better transition people into adult services
“The mistakes of the past will not be repeated. To make sure, we’ll establish an independent review of autism services to document and learn from past failures, funded from outside the Ontario Autism Program budget,” continued Del Duca.
“We’ll work as quickly as possible with people with autism, families and clinicians to implement a needs-based program for every child. To ensure that families don’t have to pay out of pocket for autism services, we’ll implement a direct billing option for therapy and make Special Services at Home funding more flexible. We’ll also create new autism therapy capacity across the province and regulate the sector to ensure quality.”
“Our plan will also hire an additional special education worker for every school – more than 5,000 more professionals – to reduce wait times for services and help close learning gaps.”
“We’ll also undertake a comprehensive reform of special education and the needs of students with disabilities – including the Individual Education Plan and autism services in schools – and fix the cliff that occurs when a child with a disability ages into adult services by better aligning both systems.”
TORONTO – Ontario Liberals are calling for smaller class sizes and more education workers to be brought into the system to prevent closures due to staff illness. Doug Ford didn’t use the school closure to bring in measures that would keep schools open, and Ontario families are facing more chaos.
“Ontario Liberals have been consistently calling on Doug Ford to make urgent investments in school safety for years,” stated Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca. “He has failed to do the heavy lifting needed to prevent the revolving closures. We need a plan to keep schools open safely to end the chaos.”
Ontario Liberals have called for the following measures to keep classrooms safe and open:
Developing a plan to immediately shore up school staffing capacity to prevent closures.
Shrinking class sizes by making use of unconventional learning spaces.
Ensuring every classroom has a HEPA filter and that all workers and students have access to high-quality masks.
Making the COVID vaccine universal for students by adding it to the list of nine vaccines already required to attend Ontario schools.
Mandating the COVID vaccine for education workers.
Ensuring data on COVID cases in schools and childcare centers is transparently reported at a classroom and school level, so that parents understand the situation in their children’s school.
“Ontario families can’t afford any more of Doug Ford’s incompetence,” added Del Duca. “As a parent impacted by the chaos he caused, I will work day and night to keep schools open and put our province on course and moving forward again.”
TORONTO – Ontario Liberals are demanding that Doug Ford immediately recalls the Legislature to pass a series of important measures to keep schools open after January 17th. Since extending the closure, he has done almost nothing to make classrooms safer. That needs to end.
“As the father of two daughters who attend publicly funded schools, I support in-person learning and would like schools to reopen,” stated Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca. “But that doesn’t mean the work to make them safer is over. Let’s get our kids back in classrooms, but Doug Ford also needs to get back to work and make sure closures never happen again.”
Ontario Liberals are proposing the following immediate moves to help prevent future closures:
- Adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of universal vaccinations for students, covered under the Immunization of School Pupils Act and bringing vaccine clinics to schools.
- Requiring the government to transparently and publicly report the progress on HEPA filter and N95 deliveries on a school-by-school basis.
- Implementing a strong vaccine mandate for all education and childcare workers while prioritizing them for boosters.
- Establishing a rapid testing program in schools while making PCR testing free and accessible to all families with children in schools.
- Passing MPP John Fraser’s Bill 7, to give all workers 10 paid sick days, which would ensure parents can isolate if their children are exposed.
- Launching an education campaign to combat misinformation and promote vaccine confidence among parents.
“Doug Ford’s preventable school closure was a failure that only caused more chaos and hardship for students and parents,” added Del Duca. “Ontario Liberals are ready to work with the government on these critical measures to safeguard our schools.”
The Ontario Legislature is set to resume in 42 days. Del Duca says that is too long to wait for a plan on school safety.