This topic contains 1,765 replies, has 143 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew Kavchak 13 hours ago.

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    FEAT BC Admin

    In this topic area, discussion is about the fight to secure Government funding for your A.B.A. treatment program. It is also the place to talk about your thoughts and ideas about how to establish new Government programs specifically designed for autism treatment.

    This is the place to hear input from parents who have fought for funding and won, as well as those who have fought for funding and would like to share their horror stories. There is a tendency to not share success stories once funding is secured. Please fight that tendency. By sharing our experience, we all become stronger.


    —-By FEAT BC (Freeman) on Saturday, January 3, 1998 – 03:16 pm:

    -Hi everyone!

    These are some things to think about in your dealings with government to help you to obtain support for your child’s Autism Treatment Program. These are my personal opinions and do not represent those of FEAT of BC or any other organization.

    Many of these observations are based on my personal experiences (and I believe it poetic justice to help every parent avoid being systematically abused by their social worker the way I was).

    Good luck to everyone! (Let’s all pull back the curtain on the Wizard of OZ).



    How To Fight for Funding for Autism Treatment and Appropriate School Placement

    1. Establish a Paper Trail

    Always take notes, documenting major points of all conversations with government and school officials.

    This includes casual, in person conversations with social workers as well as ALL telephone conversations. All key points of discussion must be written down in your notes including the date and time of the discussion. This includes what was agreed upon, as well as what was not agreed upon.

    Then the notes should be used to write a letter recapping the substance and content of the conversation. This letter must then be mailed or faxed to the person with whom you had the conversation. In addition, a copy must be kept in your file (see section on the icci game).


    It is important to formalize the interaction between you and Government officials. In addition, everyone is put on notice that they must closely adhere to their responsibilities, regulations and laws., Furthermore, they must then consider the paper trail you have created. This lets everyone know that the interaction can become public and that any abuses of power and authority can be formally appealed and/or publicized.

    In other words, they canit use discretion unfairly under the cloak of secrecy.

    2. Submit all Requests in Writing

    All your requests for your child must be submitted formally in writing with a copy included in your file and a copy, if necessary, sent to their immediate superiors.

    3. Set Deadlines for Action

    All formal requests for action must have a reasonable deadline set for that action. If no action or response is received by the deadline you have set (two weeks for example), then you will interpret the lack of response as a formal declination (a formal NO) of your requests.

    Why Set Deadlines?

    When bureaucrats do not want to do something, they will stall by ignoring you and your request. (As an aside, in the study of the bureaucracy, this is known as ithe power to do nothingi). They can string you along for years. When you have determined that the person you are interacting with is not inclined to help you or is not dealing in good faith, then you must take the initiative and formally label his/her behavior as obstructionist and de facto as a declination (a NO to your requests). This allows you to move to the next level of authority on your timetable to present your case. This takes the power to do nothing away from the bureaucrat with whom you are dealing. Simple stated, a bureaucrat who stalls and does nothing becomes irrelevant (use your invisible spray) and you move on to the next level of authority.

    How to icci?

    A cc. is a copy of your letter sent to someone other than the person you are writing. You put the cc. at the bottom left-hand corner of your letter followed by 2 spaces and the name of the person or people to whom you want to send a copy of the letter.

    Who to icci to?

    Sometimes it is best not to icci at all, especially in the early stages of the relationship (for example, your first letter to a social worker requesting assistance). This gives them the opportunity to do the right thing and does not present you as an overly combative person. When you start to run into problems, it is a good idea to send the icci to the 2 immediate superiors of the person you are having problems with. We do not recommend icciing all the way up the chain of command, since you want to give them a chance to solve the problem at the local level.

    Why send a icci copy?

    The reason for playing the icci game is that you want your interactions with the official to be known to his superior and possibly to other organizations so that 1) their action or inaction becomes a matter of record and 2) the individual knows he is being monitored. This helps minimize abuses of power and authority and helps encourage the official to meet their obligations and do the right thing.

    What is the sequence of letters?

    Find out the chain of command of the particular bureaucracy you are battling.


    Deputy Minister
    Children’s Ministry’s local region chain of command, all the way down to the District Supervisor
    and Social Worker
    Contacts can be found at the government directory:


    Start at the bottom and climb. At the Regional Operating Officer (ROO) level (once you have been declined) you have to decide whether to jump up to the top, threaten and then go to the media, or both. A word of wisdom: DO NOT BLUFF. If you are not willing to go all the way, they will ‘smell’ this. You must be prepared to take it right up to the Minister and beyond.

    Documentation from Experts:

    In your arsenal to fight for your child, it is wise to get his/her pediatrician and/or psychiatrist to write a letter on your childis behalf. In addition, any other experts who know your child and are sympathetic to what you are trying to do should become involved.

    When to hire a lawyer?

    If money is not an issue, you can hire a lawyer when you get to the area manager level. Make sure that you have a paper trail so the lawyer has something to work with. Also, have the lawyer give F.E.A.T. of B.C. a call, and we will send him/her information that will help.

    If money is an issue (as it is for most of us running autism treatment programs), you might want to hire a lawyer once you have been turned down by the Minister.

    How to hire a lawyer?

    The type of lawyer needed is a litigator, or trial lawyer. S/he does not need to be an expert in autism, or special needs; s/he needs to be experienced in suing governments, and enjoys being in court. Word of mouth is a good way to find a lawyer.

Viewing 10 replies - 11 through 20 (of 1,765 total)
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    Andrew Kavchak

    Hi Folks,

    An article appeared today on the “iPolitics” website about autism policies at the federal level going nowhere since the 2007 Senate report.

    The article is strange.  It names some key players and provides the required number of quotes, etc. but in the process it seems to do more to confuse readers than enlighten them about anything. The article touches on a variety of autism “issues” without actually explaining any single one in any meaningful way. Instead, the issues seem somewhat muddled.  The words “ABA”, “Medicare” or “access to treatment” do not appear in the article.

    My favourite line in the article is the one about opposition leaders being “outraged” last May when the Liberals defeated Mike Lake’s motion to fund his CAP project.  Outraged?  Really?  The same guys who were in power from 2006 to 2015 and did nothing are “outraged” that the new Government followed in their footsteps? Tasting their own medicine and recognizing themselves in their opponents must be a truly unpleasant experience for some politicians. Outraged? Who do they think they are kidding?


    Andrew Kavchak

    Hi Folks,

    Yesterday in the Senate, our champion on the Hill, Senator Jim Munson, gave notice that he intends to say something real soon to mark the 10th anniversary of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs 2007 report about the financing of autism treatment.

    So….I don’t know if he is planning to make a major speech, or just say a few choice words, but if any of you wish to provide Senator Munson with some ideas or feedback that you think he may wish to consider taking into account when he “calls attention of the Senate”, now would probably be the time to send it to him.

    For those who may have forgotten, in 2007 the Senate committee held a lot of hearings and issued a report (link below).

    Although there was a lot of discussion at the time about whether the report went far enough, etc. the report contained a few recommendations which were absolutely crucial then, and are even more so now.  These are my three favourites:

    The federal government convene a federal/provincial/territorial ministerial conference to examine innovative funding arrangements for the purpose of financing autism therapy;

    The conference establish an appropriate level of funding by the federal government;

    The conference identify measures of accountability in the use of federal funds for autism treatment;

    There recommendations are similar to the themes in the Liberal Party of Canada resolution on autism that was adopted last year (see link below).

    From: Senate Debates, Wednesday, September 27, 2017
    <h2 id=”25″>Autism Families in Crisis</h2>
    <h2>Tenth Anniversary of Senate Report—Notice of Inquiry</h2>
    <b>Hon. Jim Munson: </b>Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

    I will call the attention of the Senate to the 10th anniversary of its groundbreaking report <i>Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis</i>.


    Andrew Kavchak

    Hi Folks,

    Another MP mentioned autism in the House yesterday.  The text refers to “a policy”, which is presumably the resolution that was adopted by the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) last year at their policy convention in Winnipeg.

    From Hansard, Wednesday, September 27, 2017


    Mr. Speaker, many people in this place and many right across the country have been touched by autism. It is something we do not know a lot about, but here is what we do know. One in 68 kids is somewhere on the spectrum, they say, and that has doubled in the last 10 years. We also know about the financial and emotional hardships it brings to families. We need to hear their voices on the way forward, which is why I will be holding a town hall this Saturday at the Fleetwood Recreation Centre from 3 to 5 p.m. It will be live-streamed on Facebook for those who want to tune in.

    We are going to have Autism BC; Paula Williams, a mom who has lived the challenges and who has also made a great contribution to the national conversation on this issue; and Dave Hurford, who is working on a policy that he believes will move the government and the country forward.
    We need to hear more. We need to do more. That is the focus. That is why are doing this town hall on Saturday.

    Andrew Kavchak

    Hi Folks,

    Two interesting statements were made in the House of Commons yesterday. The first is by Hedy Fry, and the second by Sonia Sidhu.

    While the first is your usual announcement of something likely going on in her riding which will likely be reproduced in her “householder” to demonstrate how aware she is of things going on in her community, etc. the second statement about diabetes is really interesting because of what it reveals about the engagement of some federal politicians in some “health-related” issues.  If you read Ms. Sidhu’s statement below, she indicates:

    1. That she is the chair of the “all party diabetes caucus”.
    2. In that capacity, she toured the country over the summer to meet with Canadians and discuss diabetes.
    3. She is now looking forward in Ottawa to “get back to work on the priorities” which she heard during these consultations.

    Which got me wondering…

    1. Is there an “all party autism caucus”?  Perhaps made up of people who have family members that have autism, or simply MPs who want to be involved with trying to improve the lives of Canadians with autism and their families? I’ve never heard of one.
    2. Wouldn’t it be cool if there were such a chair of such an “all party autism caucus” who spent the summer travelling across Canada doing some similar consultations?
    3. Wouldn’t it be cool of such a chair were to return to Ottawa for the resumption of Parliament and announce that they were looking forward to “getting back to work on the priorities” which were conveyed and expressed to them during the consultations?

    Who, among the 338 MPs in the House of Commons, do you think might want to get involved in such a thing?  And not just for the photo ops, I mean.


    From: Hansard, Tuesday, September 26, 2017


    Mr. Speaker, autism affects one in 68 children. It restricts brain growth and social development. In my province of British Columbia, it impacts an estimated 56,000 people.

    The good news is that in B.C. there is a place for families to go so they do not feel alone in their struggle. I am excited to tell the House about the work of the Pacific Autism Family Network and its newest autism hub in Richmond.
    This provincial centre of excellence unites research, treatment and support for those affected by autism. Through spoke centres, it connects families, organizations and researchers in communities across the province.
    I commend the founder, Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, for her vision and commitment to this cause, and the members of the Pacific Autism Family Network team for their dedication in improving the lives of families with autism.

    Mr. Speaker, after a very busy and productive summer in my riding of Brampton South, I am happy to rise today.

    This summer I joined my Brampton colleagues for a community celebration in July. I enjoyed seeing the diversity of my community through Carabram, and we marked Canada’s 150th anniversary together.
    As chair of the all-party diabetes caucus, I visited Canadians across the country to discuss our healthy eating strategy and looked at ways to reduce the impact of diabetes, which affects 11 million Canadians.
    I am happy to be back in Ottawa to get back to work on the priorities I heard during those consultations. I want to thank the hard-working health care advocates across the country who met with me and who are our allies. We are moving forward to defeat diabetes.


    Andrew Kavchak

    Hi Folks,

    Every once in a while one can encounter a politician who is a genuinely sincere and nice person.  I say that because there are a lot of politicians that I do not feel any natural inclination to approach, but there are others who have magnetic personalities.  And sometimes….not always, but sometimes… those politicians with the magnetic personalities also happen to believe in our cause and support us.

    One such politicians was Peter Stoffer, the former federal NDP MP from Nova Scotia.  When I started protesting on the Hill back in 2004, a fellow parent named Laurel Gibbons came to one of the rallies I organized. She wanted to get involved in the autism treatment agitation movement with me and others. She then indicated that she knew one MP, Peter Stoffer, and suggested that he might be able to help us. Well, he did.  He tabled a private members bill (or was it two?) and a motion (or was it two?), AND he let Laurel use part of his Parliament Hill office and his resources as a base for lobbying other MPs on the Hill. Laurel took advantage of the offer and for several years she spent a lot of time there. I remember once she called me to join her in a meeting with a Bloc Quebecois MP who wanted to know more about what this autism treatment agitation was all about, and Laurel thought my French was better than hers and asked me to join.  We managed to get some agreement on the basic idea of the feds giving money to the provinces, but not much more than that.  (Another meeting I had with the BQ health critic was hopeless – she was on the same page as Mike Lake about the sacrosanctness of the constitution on the jurisdiction front and told me to aim my arrows elsewhere.)

    Peter Stoffer was an ally in the trenches and we were saddened to hear of his losing his seat in the 2015 election.

    Recently, he announced that he has prostate cancer. However, he expects to undergo surgery this month and make a full recovery.

    We wish you all the best Mr. Stoffer.  Our fingers are crossed and you  are in our thoughts.

    Ex-NDP MP Peter Stoffer diagnosed with prostate cancer, says he ‘has 99 per cent chance of full recovery’


    Andrew Kavchak

    Hi Folks,

    Back in June, before the summer “recess” for our glorious Parliamentarians, Senator Munson asked the Government representative in the Senate , Peter Harder, a question about autism policies.  Now that the Senate is back in session, the formal response has been tabled. I have copied below the exchange of June 8, and the response that was tabled two days ago.  My comments are below that.

    Senate, June 8, 2017.
    <h2>Autism Support and Funding</h2>
    <b>Hon. Jim Munson:</b> My question is for the Government Leader in the Senate.

    Senator, I never thought I would have to ask this question — and actually, I really don’t want to ask this question — because I felt that, in March, when we had the budget, those of us who work in the autism community held out a strong hope, a really strong hope, that the government would approve — in the scheme of things, with the billions of dollars that are being spent — a modest amount of money, less than $20 million over a four- or five-year period, for a Canadian Autism Partnership — a partnership that was put in place by the Conservative government and through my work with Conservative MP Mike Lake. That was a modest amount of money, $2 million over two years. That partnership, which was established by CASDA, Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance, brings together the overwhelming majority of autism groups across this country. Through that partnership, we wanted the federal government to take the national lead in working on research, surveillance, indigenous groups — you name it — across this country so that we can build upon the foundation we have now.

    Alas, the money was not in this budget. However, I don’t give up hope. None of us give up hope; we sincerely hope.

    How do you see the federal role in the future in terms of leading a partnership with the autism community?

    <b>Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate):</b> Senator Munson, let me first thank you for your question and for your ongoing advocacy for the disabled generally, and the autism community in particular.

    As I have said in response to several other questions on this matter, autism spectrum disorder is an area of significant concern for the ministers responsible. There is specific funding in Canadian Institutes of Health Research on the research side, about $8 million.

    With respect to the funding that the honourable senator is speaking of, I will certainly raise that with the minister responsible. The government is taking other initiatives, including those of general application to families with disabled, in terms of the Canada child benefit and other measures, but I understand exactly the question being asked and I will endeavour not only to seek an answer but to ensure that the question is asked with the advocacy of your question.

    <b>Senator Munson:</b> I thank you for that answer, because I don’t think one can ever give up hope. You have to remember as well, Senator Harder — and I think you do understand — that it was the Senate of Canada, all of us in this room, who approved a Senate report called <i>Pay</i> <i>Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis</i>. That was almost 10 years ago now. Yes, incrementally there have been a few things there, but it was the Senate that urged the government — all governments — to get involved. When we made that push at that particular time, the Conservative government took it upon themselves, with the Public Health Agency of Canada, to work on these things.

    I can’t help but express real disappointment. When we began this quest, 1 in 150 had some form of autism; now it is 1 in 68. There is a crisis in this country. Everybody has a neighbour down the street, somebody in their family, somebody they know. People are moving across the country to get better services, from Atlantic Canada to Alberta. People are remortgaging their homes and, sadly, a lot of parents have divorced because of the stress that’s involved.

    This is a request to implore you to talk to the ministers involved. I have spoken with both of them, and I’m hoping there is some sort of concrete announcement where, again, the federal government leads and works with the provinces, because we cannot continue to work in silos in this country.

    Senate, Tuesday, September 19, 2017
    <h2 id=”43″>Delayed Answers to Oral Questions</h2>
    <h2 id=”116″>Health</h2>
    <h2>Autism Support and Funding</h2>
    (<i>Response to question raised by the Honourable Jim Munson on June 8, 2017</i>)

    Our Government recognizes that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has a significant and lifelong impact on individuals and families.

    The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provinces and territories to establish the National ASD Surveillance System (NASS), which will collect and track reliable information to: estimate the prevalence of Canadians living with ASD and incidence of new cases; describe the population living with ASD; and compare patterns domestically and internationally. Public reporting of prevalence and incidence is planned to begin in 2018.

    Through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the federal government invests approximately $8 million yearly in research related to ASD. This contributes to ongoing efforts to advance knowledge about underlying causes of ASD and translate this knowledge into better diagnosis tools and treatments for patients.

    Through the $40 million Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, Employment and Social Development Canada funds organizations that help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment.

    The Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities conducted Canada’s largest national consultation in recent decades to inform the development of new federal accessibility legislation. This legislation will ensure greater accessibility and opportunities for Canadians with visible and invisible disabilities (including ASD) in their communities and workplaces.


    Comments and discussion:

    1. Senator Munson’s question was asked in the context of the failed “CAPP” initiative for which there was no funding in the budget, and which was the subject of a defeated motion in the House to support the “CAPP”.  While it is clear that the Liberal Government does not support CAPP, this is largely due to their complete ignoring of it and not even mentioning its name in any public discourse.  What exactly is the nature or basis of the Liberal Government’s opposition to CAPP is a mystery as they never offered a public critique of it (and thus betray a shameful degree of disdain for the concept of “debate” which is what they were, in part, elected for).  What is their proposed alternative is similarly a mystery, and judging by the lack of reference to anything, it would appear they have no alternative initiative to propose.
    2. Although Senator Munson pleaded with Senator Harder to speak with the Ministers responsible and expressed the hope that things would lead to an announcement and that there would be future collaborative work with the provinces, Senator Harder’s response is devoid of any reference to such announcements or intergovernmental collaboration.  This is in stark contrast to the recent announcements of newly-negotiated “health accords” with each of the provinces in which the federal government agreed to provide funding for Medicare, and specifically tagged certain services, including mental health, home care, and even matters related to kidneys in Manitoba.  Regrettably, autism treatment does not appear to have been mentioned in any of these funding agreements.
    3. Regarding the reference to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) effort to compile some basic data on the prevalence rate in Canada, this is of course the initial stepping stone in the development of sound public policy.  You can’t really allocate resources and develop a program to deal with a perceived problem if you don’t know how big the problem is in the first place.  Let’s put this in perspective.  The CDC in the U.S. has been issuing data about prevalence rates for a decades.  In 2007 federal Health Minister Tony Clement announced a “five point plan” on the eve of one of our planned demonstrations on the Hill, which included asking the PHAC to “look into” and “explore” (I think those were the words, or something like them) the possibility of collecting data on prevalence rates.  My recollection is that he did not ask the bureaucrats to compile the stats, but to research the question of whether it was even possible, and if so, how.  Well, here we are…a full decade later….and they are still working on it with a view to “estimating” the true figures.  On the one hand, I am glad that they are finally confirming that the public reporting is to begin in 2018.  This is important.  Our community will have to monitor these figures to see if they seem accurate, and take advantage of the opportunity to then pressure the governments to do something about it.  It is not clear if the figures will be reported on regularly (annually, or every two or five year updates?). If the figures are reported on a regular basis, we will be able to identify trends.  If the situation gets worse (in terms of increasing prevalence), then our community should beat the drums of “deepening crisis”, etc. and call for appropriate government action.  However, while having the figures and data to understand the extent of a problem is the first step in the development of appropriate public policy (i.e., government programs to deal with the issue), the next step is not going to happen if it is not considered a priority on the list of government “things to do before the next election”. Thus, if they take 11 years just to make an “estimate” of the problem, it may take several more years for Government officials to be convinced that they can do something meaningful. It will also be interesting to note if the PHAC report will have a concluding section with some recommendations about what needs to be done, from a “public health” perspective, of whether the report will stop short of making such recommendations, on the basis that they were not asked to provide such information and that it is not their “mandate”.  One can sometimes easily identify bureaucrats that actually care, from those who are just “doing their [minimalist] jobs”. Nonetheless, I think our community should flag this event in our 2018 calendars and be ready to ensure that this historic first report of Canadian autism prevalence rates results in much media and government discussion and is not ignored.
    4. The rest of the answer about research, employment programs, and accessibility legislation is the usual “talking points” that we’ve all heard before, particularly during the House debates on the CAPP funding motion back in May.
    5. So, it seems that on the federal front, the only two things that are happening and “in motion” are the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) working group on the motion about getting autism treatment under Medicare with federal funding assistance, and the 2018 expected PHAC initial report on autism estimate prevalence rates.



    Andrew Kavchak

    Hello Joe!

    Thank you for your message, feedback, and questions.

    1. It is important to recognize the difference between the “Liberal Party of Canada” (LPC) and the Government.  It was the LPC that adopted the Medicare for Autism resolution last year.  While the Government is composed of members from the LPC, the resolutions are not binding on the Government.  In this sense, the LPC will be lobbying the Government, just like any other “stakeholder” with an issue to lobby about, although the LPC may have an easier time getting their foot in the door.  Thus, regarding your question about “smoke and mirrors”, the LPC exercise in forming a working group to develop a report with recommendations on how to implement the resolution is not an exercise that was requested by the Government, Cabinet or the Minister of Health (thus, no Government smoke or mirrors or anything).  Once the LPC finishes their consultations and develops a report, they will give it to the Minister and Cabinet, Caucus, etc.  The Government will then have to determine whether to “do something”, or shelve it (like the Senate 2007 report) and let it gather dust in the bowels of the Parliamentary Library. So this is a lobbying step in the direction of our common goal, but we are far from the finish line.  I believe the head of policy for the LPC, Mr. Hurford, is a sincere gentleman who really wants to do something good here.  Whether he is successful in convincing the Government will be an interesting stage to watch in the future.  However, if his working group develops a good report, it will be useful for the whole autism community to jump on the bandwagon to lobby their MPs, etc.  Whether the Government will do anything before the next election is probably unlikely.
    2. Regarding the logistics of the actual operations, this may seem like a difficult challenge, but it can be done.  Unlike most visits to doctors and hospitals which are of short duration and relating to one procedure, the provision of autism treatment is a long-term thing.  However, our public health system also deals with many patients requiring long-term treatment for many other health issues, including issues that require moving into the hospital for long-term stays.  In Ontario the provincial Tories started a program under Mike Harris in 1999.  However, the “Preschool Autism Program” (now called the “Autism Intervention Program” or something) was not given to the Ministry of Health to administer, but the Ministry of Community and Family Services. Of course, the department does not have the resources to deal with all the kids, so there is a huge waiting list, and then they introduced a disgusting age-based cut-off (age 6), etc.  However, the interesting point here is that the Ministry did not administer and deliver the program. Instead, they contracted out with nine “regional providers” across the province.  And guess who was the chosen regional provider in Eastern Ontario?  The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) here in Ottawa. In other words, the provincial government played a bit of a shell game where they said that this service is not covered by Medicare and the Canada Health Act, because it is not a service ordinarily provided by a doctor or a hospital.  However, by contracting it out, and then back to a hospital, they proved that in fact a hospital can provide the service.  In Ottawa the CHEO autism programs has several locations (facilities) around the city where families bring their kids who managed to get off the “waiting list” and have not yet “aged out”.  The facilities are nice and clean, with little rooms and tables and chairs with lots of props for ABA, and a one-way mirror/window so that a supervisor can watch the treatment and observe any progress, etc.  The key problem here is the lack of resources to eliminate the waiting list and the age-based cut off.  Now in recent years the provincial government has made some changes to the program, and if we are to believe their rhetoric and propaganda, everyone gets ABA, but that’s not true.
    3. Regarding costs, there is no question that ABA is expensive and it is a huge investment.  However, when the Auton case was litigated, the plaintiffs provided evidence before the court in the form of a detailed study done by an accounting firm, of the costs of an ABA program versus the costs of providing social services to untreated autistic people throughout their lives. Guess which one is cheaper?  An untreated child will become an untreated adult and require a lifetime of support.  How much does it cost to keep an autistic person in a group home with lots of supervision?  We know it costs over $100,000 a year to keep a prisoner in jail.  In Ottawa there was an article in the paper last year about a guy in a secure room in the local mental hospital who had autism and was finally (!) placed in a group home.  The cost of keeping him in the hospital was over a million dollars a year.  The article further noted there were six other such “patients” in the mental hospital who were similarly waiting for a placement in a group home.  They were in the hospital because their families could not keep them at home anymore.  An investment in ABA up front in the child’s life has the potential to dramatically reduce those otherwise life-long costs.  The challenge is to make politicians take off the “short term” glasses they wear and put on the “long term” vision glasses.  Those who understand the issue will see the costs as an investment that is the cheaper alternative.  Politicians often use the reference to “long term investments” when they discuss things like infrastructure, so it is not completely foreign to them.

    I hope the above is helpful.


    Andrew Kavchak


    Julie Ng

    Hi Andrew,

    I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed reading your posts over the years.

    I live in the lower mainland area so if I am available I might go and observe the meeting.

    Do you think we are really closer to having the Federal government focus on ABA treatment solutions for Autism or do you think this might be more smoke and mirrors. If the former is true and the Liberals are willing to move forward with including ABA treatment in Medicare how do you think the inclusion of “intensive” ABA treatment would work? I remember early on the provincial government ran these limited and expensive EIBI programs for a small subset of kids and I got the feeling that it didn’t quite achieve any of our expectations. For us,  we privately ran a $45,000 a year, 40 hour a week, Lovaas ABA program for our child and I am having a hard time thinking that the government would be able to do the same program in a cost effective manner.

    I am all for covering ABA under Medicare but after the government agrees how do you convey to them the details to effectively implement coverage for a Lovaas type ABA program using Medicare?





    Andrew Kavchak

    Hi Folks,

    I just got this interesting notice about an MP hosting a town hall meeting and inviting people to come and talk about what the federal government could do when it comes to autism.  This is a very interesting development that has lots of potential. Please see the invitation below and then my comments below that (and a reminder of the Liberal Party of Canada autism resolution below that!).

    <b><u>A message from Ken Hardie, MP Fleetwood Port Kells:</u></b>
    <h3>Please join me and the Fleetwood Port-Kells community Saturday, September 30<sup>th</sup> to share your views on how the Federal Government can support the treatment of Autism. 

    DATE: Saturday, September 30th 
    TIME: 3 pm to 5:30 pm
    LOCATION: Fleetwood Rec. Centre 15996 84 Ave.</h3>
    <h3>To help us all stay organized, the town hall will also be structured into a presentation by Autism BC and the Autism Support Network as well as focusing on 3 key questions.</h3>

    1. What can the Federal Government do to support families affected by Autism in regards to treatment?
    2. Are there things the federal government shouldn’t be doing?
    3. What are some successful best practices for evidence-based treatment and examples of effective programs?

    If you would like to be part of this important discussion, please RSVP by email to or call my constituency office at 604.501.5900.
    Special Guests include David Hurford National Policy Chair Liberal Party of Canada, Guest Speaker from Autism BC and Autism Support Network.
    Please help us spread the word about this Town Hall, by sending this invitation on to friends and family you think might be interested
    Are you looking for support, information or want to connect with other parents? Follow us! and Twitter @autismsupportbc
    and on our online calendar on our website –


    Some comments and observations:

    1. The special guest in attendance, Mr. David Hurford, is a key player in Liberal Party of Canada policy formulation who is saddled with the Liberal Party of Canada resolution that was adopted at the Winnipeg convention in 2016 (copied below) about getting autism treatment coverage under Medicare.
    2.  The three key questions are important, because they shape the nature of the discussion.  The first question is good. The second question strikes me as  unnecessary.  The third question appears to be what CAP project was proposing to do….i.e., spend a lot of time consulting people on “best practices”.  The Liberal MPs in the House and the Government rejected the CAP proposal, so it is indeed ironic that this initiative is reproducing an element of what was rejected.  We already know what “best practice” is when it comes to autism treatment. We are all seeking a situation where ABA autism treatment is delivered through Medicare the way treatment is delivered for Canadians suffering from other disorders and illnesses: by showing your public health insurance card.
    3. It seems to me that the consultation would have a better chance of developing a consensus if there was first agreement on the nature of the problem, and then agreement on the solution.  For this purpose, the Liberal Party resolution on autism is pretty helpful. The resolution’s “whereas” clauses outline the problems, and the resolution recommendations (the two “be it resolved” paragraphs) propose a solution (e.g., the negotiation of “autism accords” with each province as part of a “National Autism Strategy” so that funding is available to ensure the Medicare coverage of autism treatment from coast to coast).
    4. Other MPs should be encouraged to hold such meetings. Imagine what would happen if all the MPs (especially on the government side) did something like this!
    5. I wish those parents who will be attending lots of good luck in making your case!


    Andrew Kavchak, Ottawa


    Liberal Party of Canada resolution on autism adopted at their Winnipeg convention

    <header class=”session-type-“>
    <h1 class=”session-summary__name”>MEDICARE COVERAGE FOR THE TREATMENT OF AUTISM</h1>

    <article class=”session-summary” data-day=”all,thursday”>
    <p class=”policy-summary__move-container”>Moved by Liberal Party of Canada (British Columbia)</p>
    WHEREAS the rate of autism spectrum disorder (“ASD”) among Canadian children is 1 in 68 and rising;

    WHEREAS Canada’s health care system currently excludes from coverage the recognized, science-based treatment for ASD called Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), despite the incidence of this neurological condition and advocacy from numerous citizen groups;

    WHEREAS the BC Supreme Court, in 2000, found ABA was “medically necessary treatment” and “there were no effective competing therapies” and their decision was upheld in the BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada;

    WHEREAS funding for ABA for ASD is insufficient and varies between provinces;

    WHEREAS the lifetime cost of an individual receiving inadequate treatment (or none) for ASD is reliably estimated between $2.4 and $3.2 million, excluding indirect costs to society;

    WHEREAS the US Government requires all states to provide treatment for ASD as part of state-wide Medicaid programs and 43 out of 50 states require private health insurers to provide coverage for the ASD treatment;

    BE IT RESOLVED that the Canada Health Act be amended to include Medicare coverage for Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or, alternatively, the Government of Canada work with all provincial and territorial governments to ensure inclusion of ABA for ASD within their respective Medical Services Plans

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Government of Canada provide funding to each province and territory to fully cover the costs associated with the provision of ABA treatment of ASD.



    Andrew Kavchak

    Hi Folks,

    As the federal cabinet is meeting this week with a view to getting ready for the upcoming return to Parliament, I did a google search to see if there is anything new on this previously-defeated and ignored “Canadian Autism Partnership” (CAP) thing.

    One of the “hits” was to a Facebook post of Mike Lake’s.  It is dated June 7, 2017 and reads:

    “Today I had the opportunity to question Prime Minister Trudeau directly about his decision to whip his Liberal caucus to defeat the creation of the Canadian Autism Partnership. He clearly has no real answers.

    As you can see by the response to my first question, this issue is strongly supported by members of every national party other than the Liberals. Please continue to keep the pressure on by sharing, tweeting, e-mailing and calling your closest Liberal MPs, and respectfully explaining the importance of this issue to you.

    In a strong democracy, enough people speaking up can result in any decision being changed. Thank you all so much for the many messages of support that I’ve received along the way. I promise you we won’t give up this fight.

    ‘A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.’ – Mahatma Gandhi”

    His statement about people speaking up “can result in any decision being changed” is an interesting example of cynicism.

    When I first met Mike Lake after he was first elected, he made it pretty clear that from his perspective, the federal government had nothing to do with the problem about Medicare not covering autism treatment. He has held that line like a sacrosanct mantra ever since.  Of course, as I previously pointed out on this board on numerous occasions, the Conservatives did not shy away from “jurisdiction creep” when it suited them (e.g., the Bill to create a “National Securities Regulator”, or proposing a “National Cancer Strategy” during an election, etc.)

    I do not recall Mike Lake ever supporting calls for any federal initiative to address the lack of Medicare coverage for autism treatment in this country (e.g., the development of a “National Autism Strategy” and/or the negotiation of  a Health Accord with a funding formula to include autism treatment under Medicare, etc.)  Instead, he has always held the position that the federal government is impotent in the matter because decisions on what medical services to cover is a provincial concern.  His pronouncements on autism often include the word “jurisdiction” which he inserts in order to subtly make the point that he believes there are limits to what the federal government can, and should, do.  Forget about precedents or trying something new to address the lack of political will. Forget about federal “leadership” on this file.  To my knowledge, no matter how many people spoke up, it never resulted Mr. Lake’s “decision being changed”.

    Now it appears Mike Lake has met his match in stubbornness.  Suddenly, “any decision” is possible if enough people speak up?  Really, Mr. Lake? Really? Does that apply to you too, or just those unreasonable Liberals?

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