CUPE Ontario joined the Ontario Autism Coalition (OAC) and its labour and community allies for a rally at Queen’s Park.

The OAC and allies are raising concerns about the plans for a new funding arrangement for children with autism that was promised for April of this year. Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, broke that promise when he announced a year’s delay in creating a needs-based autism program, causing widespread stress among parents. This is compounded by announcements last year that also saw cuts to funding for community based supports, and that saw the loss of critical services families rely on.

“We are proud to represent people who support children with autism in schools and in communities,” says Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, and one of the speakers during Tuesday’s rally. “CUPE Members are a critical part of the publicly-funded services that need to be available to families no matter where they live.”

Conservative cuts to services hurt communities, the most vulnerable among us in particular, as well as impact the jobs of CUPE members, like social service workers who provide support through community agencies and school board members who provide support for families of children with autism.

“Now’s the time to demand comprehensive public services so that people can walk into any school, hospital, or municipality in the province and expect to receive the supports and services their children need,” says Hahn. “This is what our kids deserve and we’re supporting this rally as the legislature returns to send a message that we’re in solidarity with parents who are demanding better services for their kids.”