PC Leader Patrick Brown blasts Liberals over 2016 handling of autism program

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown smiles after delivering a speech at the Ontario Progressive Conservative convention in Ottawa, Saturday , March 5, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader says he’s committed to making sure children with autism in the province get the support they need.

At a stop in St. Thomas on Tuesday morning, Patrick Brown blasted the Kathleen Wynne Liberals over a 2016 decision to cut off access to intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) for kids age five and older.

READ MORE: Wait lists growing for autism treatment in Ontario

Speaking on the Andrew Lawton Show on AM980 Tuesday afternoon, Brown said he would make sure families who need IBI get it.

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“The fact that the government thought that they could quietly remove that service, it was really short-sighted,” he said.

“This will change a child’s entire life and frankly, there will be less support needed long term if you help that child in those very formative years. I’m a big believer of IBI therapy, I’m a big believer that autism doesn’t end at five, and I’m a big believer that we need to help.”

READ MORE: Parents of children with autism demand Ontario not remove 5 year olds off wait list

The Liberals meantime, note that the original 2016 autism plan was scrapped and a new program that began implementation in early June increases funding and access.

“Patrick Brown has never done anything for children with autism or their families,” Minister of Children and Youth Services, Michael Coteau, wrote in a statement.

“As an MP in the Harper government, he voted against a national strategy for autism that could have led to more co-ordinated service across the country. Now, he continues to mislead families and cause confusion. While Ontario is making the largest investment in autism services in the country, Patrick Brown is playing politics with families.”

READ MORE: Ontario launches new autism program; practitioners to be regulated

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In addition to St. Thomas, Brown also stopped by Kingsville and Windsor and is expected in London on Tuesday evening.

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