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Autism layoffs ‘premature,’ says Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Her ministry will hold consultations through the summer to determine how to move forward on more needs-based funding… Taylor accused the Ford government’s plan of putting families “in crisis, and we have a complete disaster of an autism program right now in the province because the minister failed to communicate before she put the policy in place.”

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Mandatory e-learning announced by Ford government comes under fire from NDP

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

“this is not about 21st century learning, this is not about technology; this is about making students take courses online that are now mandatory… This is about removing 10,000 teachers from our classrooms.”… student leaders have already asked the province to back off on making such credits necessary for graduation.

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Mandatory online courses in Ontario high schools raise concerns for educators

Sunday, March 24th, 2019

In a massive shift to digital coursework, Ontario will soon require high school students to earn four online credits before they graduate — a first in North America. But with few details about the move, which begins in 2020-21, critics are questioning the rapid push to so much virtual learning so soon… “Although e-learning classes provide a modernized learning experience for students, these courses are not a good fit for everyone,”

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Ford government announces hikes to high school class sizes, but no changes to kindergarten

Friday, March 15th, 2019

The Ford government is boosting class sizes starting in Grade 4 through to Grade 12 while promising no layoffs — though teacher unions expect about 4,500 positions will be eliminated each year over the next four years… Education Minister Lisa Thompson… unveiled a number of education reforms… including a back-to-basics math curriculum, tweaking of the sex-ed curriculum, and a plan to have each high school student take one online credit each year. Class sizes will remain the same from kindergarten to Grade 3, and from Grades 4-8 will increase by one student.

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Ford government to boost school funding to deal with influx of students with autism

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

… school boards had been writing to Thompson, as well as Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, with their concerns about how the controversial autism overhaul could create an unsustainable burden on schools as of April 1, when the new program takes effect. A large protest last week drew hundreds of families to Queen’s Park… “This funding will allow school boards to make sure there are proper supports available during the transition from therapy to school.”

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Ford government to boost school funding by $12,300 for every child with autism who enters the system

Monday, March 11th, 2019

“These supports will start, absolutely, immediately… We are making changes to school board funding so supports will be in place for this school year.” The government has come under considerable criticism from parents and school boards for the changes, which will see limited lifetime budgets for children with autism, which has led boards to anticipate an influx of students into the system when they lose their current level of therapy… Thompson said by 2021 all teachers in the public system will have training in autism spectrum disorder.

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Parents rally against Ford government’s autism changes

Friday, March 8th, 2019

the government is boosting spending to clear a wait list of 23,000 children and giving families limited budgets to choose the services they want. Depending on their income, parents will be eligible for up to $20,000 a year for children under 6, with a lifetime maximum of $140,000. Children older than that can access up to $5,000 a year up to age 18, to a lifetime maximum of $55,000. Critics have said those amounts fall far short, as children with severe needs can require up to $80,000 a year in therapy.

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Children’s agency slams Ford government’s autism funding changes

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

Kinark is the only regional service provider — so far — to publicly oppose the changes announced by Lisa MacLeod, minister of children, community and social services last month… Under the overhaul, provincial funding will no longer be administered by nine regional service providers and instead flow directly to families who will use the money to buy therapy from private therapists or publicly funded agencies… A new independent agency to be established in the next year will administer “childhood budgets” to families based on household income and a child’s age.

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Attorney General Caroline Mulroney boosts rape crisis centre funding by $1 million

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

A decade ago, they logged 30,000 calls a year — now, more than 50,000… “This is funding that was committed to the centres last spring, which has not been disbursed … Survivors in our province deserve predictable multi-year funding that enables organizations to have stability. This one-time handout falls woefully short of what is needed to tackle staggering waiting lists across Ontario to access counselling.”

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Ontario government quietly ordered autism therapy providers to stop admitting kids from wait-list last September

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

The provincial government quietly ordered autism service providers last September to stop admitting new children for therapy and to keep parents in the dark about the move… Internal documents — from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and senior administrators of nine regional service providers — state that the 23,000-child wait-list for autism therapy was closed because of “financial pressures.”

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