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Medicare’s Orphans – A film about the fight to get healthcare for children with autism in Canada.
Winner of the 2013 Award of Excellence at the Canada International Film Festival.
Medicare is not available for autism treatment anywhere in Canada despite a government run health plan that is supposedly universal.  Canadian governments at both the federal and provincial level are ignoring this national health epidemic by refusing to cover the only uniquely effective autism treatment – applied behaviour analysis (ABA) under our universal health care system.  Our Medicare system was created to cover the core health needs of ALL Canadians, yet children with a mental or neurological disability, such as autism, are excluded from health insurance coverage.  This discrimination must end.



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October 15, 2019


Who is driving the Canadian “autism policy bus”?


“How we care for the most vulnerable in society is very important.”

So said Justin Trudeau in February, 2016. Later that same year, delegates to the Liberal Party of Canada’s national convention passed a “priority health-care policy resolution” calling for federal funding for medically-necessary autism treatment (ABA/IBI). Today in Canada there are over 500,000 people on the autism spectrum, almost 60% of whom have moderate to severe intellectual disabilities and up to 50% are non-verbal. And yet, there’s not word one in the Liberal’s policy platform for this election about autism. Why not?


What do the Conservatives have to say?

Late in this campaign, on behalf of the party, an obscure back-bencher from Alberta released a statement that acknowledges the high cost of evidence-based therapies and yet makes no provision for funding medically-necessary treatment. Instead, it makes a lame commitment to five more years of consultations with a price tag of 50 million taxpayer dollars. Why did Andrew Scheer not make this announcement? Aren’t Canadians living with autism worthy of his attention?


It is now time for Canadians to know what the Conservative Party deputy leader, Lisa Raitt, has to say on this subject.  While a candidate in the 2008 federal election, and as re-affirmed in July of this year, Ms. Raitt said, “I believe whole-heartedly in public medicare funding for applied behavior analysis and intensive behavior intervention. As a mom, this is one public policy issue about which I feel particularly strongly. It is something I would support publicly, and I would be a strong voice in government advocating for special-need kids. In my opinion, the current lack of funding, in every province, for this kind of effective therapy is a glaring gap in the promise of universal health insurance. And it treats kids with neurological challenges differently than kids with physical challenges. That’s not fair or right.”


This is exactly what Canadians living with autism and their families need! So, Lisa – where is your “strong voice” now regarding your party’s grossly inadequate proposal?


The Liberals are silent. The Conservatives want to spend 5 more years and $50 million consulting with, among others, “autistic individuals”. Really, which ones? Certainly not the up to 50% who are non-verbal or the almost 60% with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities.


Who is driving the Canadian “autism policy bus”? Is it a small percentage of people mildly affected by autism, who are verbally competent? If so, why? In addition, is it a group of “self-diagnosed” individuals? How is “self-diagnosis” even legitimate?  Why isn’t medical science at the centre of these policy consultations? Nowhere in the Conservative proposal for consultations are the medical or scientific communities listed.


Contrast our country’s dismal reality with the United States where recently the 50th and final state requires health-care insurers to include coverage for ABA/IBI in their policies.

In addition the US federal administration has committed a further $1.8 billion to support research and treatment initiatives.


If the people we elect will not do the right thing for Canadians living with moderate to severe autism, who will? Sadly, Canadian families/supporters have learned that the only progress made to date has been ordered by the courts. The Auton case (2000) was ground-breaking. It appears more litigation is on the way.

It’s grotesque that the most vulnerable Canadians have to turn to the courts in order to get health-care. So be it.




For more information click here

May, 2016 was a game-changer

The Liberal Party of Canada's  National Convention voted to make

the following resolution for ABA treatment a health-care priority for the Government of Canada. 

andrew Kavchak.jpg

Canadian Healthcare does not cover Children diagnosed with Autism. Why not?

Get Connected

Autism Resolution click HERE to open PDF.


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