Whalen Corners - March 10, 2019 - It’s tough to explain in simple terms why the government needs to hit "pause" on the new OAP and go back to the table (keep in mind, the new plan goes "live" on April 1 - that’s coming up quickly!). Here’s my attempt to keep things short-and-sweet.
1. It’s a colossal waste of money because the money isn’t targeted. Some kids get way more money than they need, to go out and buy a spare iPad. Others don’t get enough to pay for even 10% of the therapy they need.
2. Girls get significantly less support than boys. The funding is based on age-at-diagnosis, and girls get diagnosed significantly later than boys, even when “severity” is identical.
3. The income clawbacks act as a steep new tax. The tax will harm the economy as it makes it nearly impossible for both parents to stay in the labour force.
4. The plan reduces choice for parents.Speech therapy and OT are not eligible in the new program, and parents do not receive enough money to pay for ABA.
5. Thousands of special-needs kids will be entering the school system between now and June, since they will be losing their ongoing therapy. The government has no plan to deal with the transition.
6. Families earning more than 55K/yr will have their funding clawed back. A 2-earner family with 3 kids, living in downtown Toronto, with both parents making minimum-wage is considered "too rich" to receive full support.
7. The lack of a transition plan is killing jobs. We are seeing layoffs and the closure of college training programs, simply because organizations do not know if they will receive funding (or how much).
8. The new plan is almost certainly a cut in overall funding. The government is not releasing budget forecasts. Best external estimates are that funding will be cut by 50-100 million dollars.
9. The Childhood Budget model has a pile of unintended consequences. These include single Moms losing all funding if they get married and some families having to repay the government back for past funding, if they have a change in income.
10. The plan still isn’t fully written! The plan goes into effect in three weeks, and the government still hasn’t released most of the details on how it works.
I’ll leave it at ten, but easily could double or triple this list.
About Mike Moffatt
Senior Director, Smart Prosperity. Assistant Prof, Ivey Business School. Exhausted but happy Dad of 2 wonderful kids with autism. I used to do other stuff.
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