APRIL 2017: For autism awareness month, let’s move forward with the resolution to provide equal access to autism treatment for everyone in Canada who needs it.
Please share this letter and call your MP today!
Dear Prime Minister:
Today is “Autism Awareness Day”, when some suggest we should celebrate this neurological disorder as just another way of being. This is bizarre and offensive in equal measure.
Last May, delegates to the Liberal Party of Canada’s national convention, held in Winnipeg, recognized the right way to respond to this national epidemic of staggering proportions when they overwhelmingly passed a priority health-care policy resolution calling upon the Government of Canada to work with provinces and territories to include under our supposedly universal MEDICARE plan science-based treatment for autism spectrum disorder (“ASD”), specifically Applied Behavioural Analysis. A copy of the resolution is enclosed. This initiative was assisted and encouraged by our not-for-profit organization, the Medicare for autism Now! Society (“MFAN”).
To date, almost one year later, you and your Cabinet colleagues have failed to do what your extra-parliamentary party has instructed and literally hundreds of thousands of Canadians desperately need. This inaction is in spite of the Government of Canada having concluded “Health Accords” with every province except Manitoba, most of which purport to involve an emphasis on increased federal funding for mental health issues. Why do you and your colleagues continue to ignore the plight of persons afflicted with ASD and their families, and continue to deny appropriate funding for what our courts have long ago ruled to be the medically necessary treatment of this often devastating neurological disorder?
According to the report “PAY NOW OR PAY LATER, Autism Families in Crisis” released by a Senate committee in March, 2007, the number of ASD diagnoses was then one in 166, which indicated that, fully ten years ago, there were some 48,000 children, aged 19 and under, and 144,000 adults living in Canada with this condition.
Today, in North America the incidence rate of ASD is estimated by the world-renown Centers for Disease Control, in Atlanta, to be one in 68. We are reliably advised that this ratio translates into roughly 129,000 children and 386,000 adults living in Canada with ASD. Clearly, it is long past time for action, as has been undertaken in the United States where, at last count, fully 44 states require health insurance providers to include in their policies coverage for science-based treatment for ASD, specifically Applied Behaviour Analysis. No further consideration should be given to expensive proposals calling for yet another self-serving bureaucracy and perennial gab-fests, such as the one recently put forward by the Canadian Autism Partnership Project. As a former premier of Ontario, and interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Hon. Bob Rae, said, in his letter of April 21, 2016 endorsing the enclosed resolution, “It is long past time to end this unacceptable discrimination by including treatment for this neurological disorder where it rightfully belongs in our country’s health-care system.”
In February, 2016, in talking about old age pension entitlements, you said, “How we treat vulnerable people in our society is very important.” We agree. There can be few more vulnerable people in Canada today than those who suffer from untreated, moderate to severe ASD. In the mandate letter you sent to Health Minister Jane Philpott, upon her admission to Cabinet, you stated, inter alia, “It is my expectation that you will engage constructively and thoughtfully and add priorities to your agenda when appropriate…We will be a government that governs for all Canadians…As Minister of Health, your overarching goal will be to strengthen our publicly-funded universal health care system and ensure it adapts to new challenges.”
We sent an e-mail to the Health Minister, on November 20th of last year, asking her what steps were being taken to implement this long overdue and urgently needed policy change. To date, we have yet to receive an acknowledgement of our communication. We have had a similar lack of response from Finance Minister Morneau to a letter, dated June 22, 2016, we sent him respecting this issue. A copy of each communication is enclosed. So much for a government committed to openness and engagement.
What is it going to take to get you and your colleagues in the Government of Canada to recognize the seriousness of this health-care crisis (identified as such by the Senate ten years ago) and to respond by doing the morally right and fiscally responsible thing through ensuring appropriate funding within MEDICARE for the science-based treatment of ASD, specifically Applied Behaviour Analysis?
Jean Lewis David Marley,
Director, MFAN Director, MFAN
At the Liberal Party of Canada’s Biennial Policy Convention this past May, a resolution was passed regarding “Medicare Coverage for the Treatment of Autism” with overwhelming support of Liberal Party members from across Canada.
This important resolution is now considered a priority policy for the Party and has made the strongest statement yet in favour of recognizing that the provision of fully funded evidence-based treatment for autistic children is medically necessary and a basic human right.
The incidence of Autism in Canada is growing – now affecting 1 in 68 Canadian children. The time to support the health and potential of our children is now! Please help move this policy to the next stage by contacting your local Liberal MP and encourage them to support this initiative with their colleagues and the Minister of Health, Jane Philpott. The passing of this resolution is an important historic measure and if implemented, will change the lives of countless Canadian families.
Please contact your local Liberal MP today and ask them to help put on the table discussions between the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments over securing an agreement to provide fully funded services under all Medical Services Plans.
Read about the history of parents advocating to have autism treatment covered under Canadian Healthcare here – http://www.medicareforautismnow.org/
March 2016, Victoria, BC – HUGE news for the autism community across Canada! Please read and help make this happen!
For years we have been lobbying/begging/fundraising to have Autism treatment covered under Medicare. The lack of treatment funding has been an incredible financial burden for many, and has even bankrupted some families, thereby making this truly a two-tiered system, with access to treatment only available to those lucky enough to be able to provide it.
We have an opportunity to change this!
The following resolution, calling on the Federal Government to make ABA treatment universally accessible and covered under Medicare, was developed in collaboration with Medicare for Autism Now! Society and the South Surrey White Rock federal Liberal riding executive.
Thanks to Paula Williams, the organizational Chair, and her riding colleagues! They presented this resolution at the Liberal Party of Canada’s BC Policy convention in Victoria. 600 delegates voted on 69 resolutions with our resolution receiving the SECOND highest votes! This moves it to the Liberal Party’s National Convention, in Winnipeg, at the end of May!
Never before has Autism treatment been on a policy agenda of ANY federal political party, let alone the governing party!
What can you do??
• Contact your federal liberal riding association’s president and policy chairperson (each riding has their own website. Google your riding plus “liberal.ca”
• Send them a copy of the resolution and ask them to instruct their delegates, going to the Winnipeg convention, to support it.
• If you live in a Liberal held riding, contact your MP and ask that they do the same.
• Forward/email the resolution to your friends, family, colleagues across Canada and ask if they will also contact their Liberal riding associations and MPs.
• Email email@example.com and let them know who has been contacted.
The Resolution follows (you can cut and paste this, or go to the MFAN website or facebook page for a copy and a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Autism and ABA treatment):
S3 – Medicare Coverage for the treatment of Autism
WHEREAS the rate of autism spectrum disorder (“ASD”) among Canadian children is now a shocking 1 in 68, constituting a national epidemic and, for reasons unknown, continues to rise;
WHEREAS Canada’s “universal” health care system currently excludes from coverage the recognized, effective, science-based treatment for ASD called Applied Behavioural Analysis (“ABA”), despite the deplorable incidence of this neurological condition and advocacy from numerous citizen groups;
WHEREAS the BC Supreme Court, in 2000, found that ABA was “medically necessary treatment” and that “there were no effective competing therapies”, a decision which was upheld on appeal by the BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada;
WHEREAS funding in Canada respecting ABA for ASD currently is not only grossly insufficient, it varies widely between provinces;
WHEREAS the lifetime cost of an individual receiving inadequate treatment (or none) for ASD is reliably estimated between $2.4 – $3.2 million, excluding indirect costs to society; and
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 ASD treatment;
BE IT RESOLVED the Canada Health Act be amended to include Medicare coverage for ABA for 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 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.
South Surrey-White Rock