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Long term solutions needed for autism services

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GPO leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner made the following statement regarding changes to autism services in Ontario:

“23,000 kids on waitlist for autism services is unacceptable and a clear sign that the system is broken. System change and additional investments are needed to get kids the autism therapy they need.

Although it is good to hear that the government will provide new funding for diagnostic centres to address the initial diagnostic wait list challenge, I’m worried that today’s announcement will not be a permanent solution to the waitlist challenges families face.

Clearing the waitlist backlog will require investments to ensure service providers are available for parents to access. A lack of service providers and options is a concern with our existing system. It’s unclear how the government is proposing to address this.

We need a balanced approach with parent choice and investments in the infrastructure and service providers that families rely on for care.

We also need to recognize that the $140,000 per child could run out as quickly as within two years, for children undergoing intensive treatment, leaving families in a very tough place.

Today’s announcement is a start, but I encourage the government to work with families, service providers, experts and opposition parties to develop a comprehensive reform plan.”

Lunar New Year

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Today marks the beginning of Lunar New Year. During this fifteen day celebration, communities will come together at temples and gatherings to mark the beginning of the Year of the Pig.

Lunar New Year is the most important date in the lunar calendar and is celebrated with beautiful parades, community festivals, the exchange of gifts, and spending time with loved ones.

These celebrations offer us all a chance to reflect on opportunities for renewal and to find peace moving forward with the year ahead.

The GPO would like to wish all who are celebrating a happy and prosperous New Year!

Ford needs to put evidence over ideology in health care

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GPO leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner made the following statement regarding the leaked documents around a new health care system:

“The leaked documents around health care released today are deeply concerning.

Health care is too important for the government to put ideology before evidence.

Why would the government move forward with a centralized super agency without evidence that it will improve care at lower costs? This model, as we have seen in Alberta, has not resulted in cost savings. In fact, Alberta has higher health expenditures per capita.

To learn that the government may have moved ahead already with this model, without hearing from the experts and without public input, is a clear example of the Ford government putting ideology over evidence.

We absolutely should make sure our health care system provides quality care in a way that is affordable and sustainable for the province.

But why is the government rushing what appears to be a massive shift ahead of reports from health care experts they themselves hired? The Ford government has shown a disturbing pattern of leaping first, thinking later.

The speed, as well as the content of these documents, is concerning. Rushing such a massive shift in our health care has high risks for patient care.

I urge the government to pause, to give themselves time to listen to the experts, consult with Ontarians and make sure that the outcome of any changes to our health care system puts patients first.

I will continue to fight for a public health care system that puts people first.”

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