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Enhancing Supports for Children and Youth with Special Needs in Northern Ontario

Ontario Government Taking Action to Reduce Wait Times and Improve Services

September 6, 2013 2:00 p.m. 

Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Ontario is reducing wait times and improving how families of children and youth with special needs in northern Ontario access the services they need, as close to home as possible.

As part of a new $5 million annual investment, Ontario is expanding the family-centred Children’s Rehabilitation Information System to five children’s treatment centres in northern Ontario. As a result, more children and youth will receive improved access to rehabilitative services, such as physical, occupational and speech therapy. The Ontario government is also committed to expanding access to integrated rehabilitation services in full-day kindergarten classrooms by building on pilot programs.

More young people with autism will also benefit from improved access to Intensive Behavioural Intervention therapy, which helps decrease challenging behaviours, increase appropriate behaviours and promote development.

Improving access to services for children and youth with special needs and their families is part of the Ontario government’s efforts to build a fair society for the benefit of all and help people with their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario also supports children living in rural and remote areas through the Integrated Services for Northern Children Fund, which totals more than $11 million for 2013-2014.
  • Ontario’s five northern children’s treatment centres, located in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, North Bay and Sudbury, provide service to approximately 7,860 kids a year.
  • These new supports are the first step in responding to recommendations from Tracy MacCharles, the former Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children and Youth Services, on how to improve families’ experiences finding information, navigating the system and transitioning from child and youth to adult services.

We heard from families about what they need to support their children and youth with special needs, and we took action. We remain committed to helping all children and youth in Ontario achieve their goals, and to fully participate at home, at school and in their communities.”

Teresa Piruzza
Minister of Children and Youth Services

These investments will help children’s treatment centres to support more kids with services, such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language pathology, that make an important difference in their lives.”

Michael Gravelle
Member of Provincial Parliament

Northern Ontario’s children’s treatment centres do excellent work to ensure children with special needs get the specialized services they need. This new funding means they can hire more staff and help more kids.”

Bill Mauro
Member of Provincial Parliament, Thunder Bay-Atikokan

Media Contacts

Nauman Khan
Minister’s Office
Courtney Battistone

Communications Branch
For Public Inquiries:

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