Supporting an individual with autism is beyond the financial means of most Canadians;
Intensive, early intervention has proven effective in the treatment of ASD;
The patchwork of federal and provincial programs fails to support people with ASD;
Major life transitions pose one of the greatest challenges for families (i.e. from high school to adulthood), and transition supports are insufficient;
Canadians with ASD are vulnerable;
Schools very rarely allow health care professionals on site to support children with ASD;
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is in a conflict of interest when they determine Disability Tax Credit (DTC) eligibility; and
The Senate of Canada published “Pay now or pay later: Autism families in crisis” in 2007.
We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to:
1. Create a funded national autism and special needs strategy developed in partnership with provinces and territories, and needs-based, timely services delivered to Canadians in need, thus strengthening our commitment to human rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
2. Seek multi-partisan support;
3. Enshrine evidence-based therapies such as applied behaviour analysis, occupational therapy, speech therapy into the Canada Health Act;
4. Move eligibility assessments for the DTC from the CRA to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC);
5. Modify the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) to permit withdrawals without penalty for post-secondary education;
6. Create an ombudsman to investigate when governments fail to honour the strategy;
7. Create programs for life transitions;
8. Expand the housing program for vulnerable groups;
9. Create a caregiver allowance for caregivers of high needs children; and
10. Regulate providers of autism therapy services.
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