Ontario is working toward a new needs-based and sustainable autism program for Bay of Quinte families


MONDAY, JULY 29, 2019

Bay of Quinte – Ontario is continuing to listen to families of children with autism and the Autism Advisory Panel to support families in Bay of Quinte with the goal of helping as many children as possible.


In Toronto this morning, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and Bay of Quinte MPP, announced steps the government is taking to provide continuity of service while giving the necessary time to work on the new program. These steps include:


·         Broadening the scope of the Autism Advisory Panel to develop recommendations for a new, needs-based and sustainable program. The panel is examining results from online surveys, telephone town halls and written submissions as well as considering relevant evidence, science and data to submit its advice for the end of summer. The ministry is aiming for implementation of a new program April 1, 2020.


·         Continuing services for families with existing behaviour plans. Families will then be able to renew their plan for a second extension of up to six months, at their current level of intensity, or less where clinically appropriate.


·         Continuing to issue childhood budgets as the government works toward its needs-based program.


As previously announced, Ontario is investing an additional $278 million in the province's autism program, bringing the total amount of funding to $600 million annually.


“As a result of listening to families, service providers and advocates across Ontario in the past few weeks, it is clear we all share a goal to provide the best care and make a positive difference in the lives of children and families living with autism in Ontario,” said Smith.


Smith said he is looking forward to receiving the expert advice of the advisory panel.


“I have every confidence that, together, we will get this right. It’s clear we need to ask the advisory panel to provide us with a broader set of recommendations and advice – and we need to give them the necessary time to do so,” said Smith. “In the interim, we will continue services for families, move more children into service and give our experts the time they need to bring forth their considered recommendations. These measures will also bring greater transparency for parents and families across Ontario.”


While providing his update, Smith was joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, who pledged their collaboration in an integrated service approach.


"The advisory panel's expert advice will be critical to ensuring our investments across government, including in Ontario's health care system, promote and advance a truly child-centred approach," said Elliott. "I look forward to receiving their recommendation. In the meantime, we are continuing to listen to families of children and youth with autism and remain fully committed to supporting them through enhanced supports."


Added Lecce: “Our government is committed to ensuring that Ontario schools are safe and inclusive places for students with autism. We will work tirelessly with Ontario families, educators and school boards to achieve seamless transition and enhance school-based supports.”



·         The province's 20-member autism expert panel includes parents of children with autism, clinicians, autism self-advocates, service providers, former public servants and others.






Ontario nominates Quinte West’s King Street corridor project to federal government for ICIP funding


FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2019

Quinte West – Todd Smith, the Bay of Quinte MPP and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, announced today the Province of Ontario has nominated Quinte West’s King Street corridor reconstruction project for Investing in Canada Infrastructure Project (ICIP) funding.

Smith explained through ICIP’s Rural and Northern stream, a multi-level funding model, the Province must submit projects for federal approval.  Pending federal approval, the Province would contribute $1,666,183.37 toward the reconstruction of 2.8 km of roadway along King, Division, Catherine and Dufferin streets. 

Above ground, the reconstruction includes new asphalt, curbing, and sidewalks as well as the construction of active transportation lanes on King and Division streets. Roundabouts may also be considered to increase safety. Below ground, the City plans to replace water and sewer mains that are over 50 years old and to add fibre optics conduit for modern communications needs.

 “This project will improve vehicular and pedestrian safety in a well-travelled area of Quinte West that provides access to Trenton Memorial Hospital, schools, and downtown businesses. It will also refresh vital water and sewer infrastructure, providing longevity and reliability for another generation,” said Smith. “I’m pleased our government is committed to the health and prosperity of Quinte West.”

Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison was pleased the Province nominated the project.

“We are very thankful for the provincial government’s support. This is one of many infrastructure projects that we are looking forward to completing and we are looking forward to the federal government’s support as well.”

In a competitive process, Quinte West’s application was reviewed for its adherence to both federal eligibility criteria and provincial priorities.

The Province has committed $250 million through the Rural and Northern stream, part of a $10.2 billion investment in the 10-year ICIP program. For each approved project, Ontario will provide up to 33 per cent of project costs. The Rural and Northern stream is one of four funding opportunities under the agreement.  Intakes from municipalities under the Public Transit stream are currently being reviewed, while streams for Community, Culture and Recreation and Green projects will open later this year.

Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott said the government is pleased to use the ICIP model to invest in what matters most to the communities it serves.

“We’re continuing to work with municipalities, families, and businesses to make smart investments in our infrastructure and keep it reliable,” said Scott. “Our investments are creating jobs and growing the economy, shaping the future for hard-working Ontario families.”

Work cannot begin on Quinte West’s King Street corridor or any of the other projects the Province has nominated for funding until approvals come from the federal government.  Smith is urging an expedient review and confirmation the project will proceed.

“This is an important project for Quinte West in so many ways. We need to get the green light as soon as possible so the City can start public consultations and get shovels in the ground without delay.”


Budget 2019:  budget.on.ca

Grants Ontario – List of Grants by Ministry: http://www.grants.gov.on.ca/GrantsPortal/en/OntarioGrants/GrantOpportunities/GrantsbyMinistry/index.htm



Ontario to provide City of Belleville up to $3 million for Sagonaska Bridge structural upgrades

MONDAY, JULY 15, 2019

Belleville – The Province of Ontario will provide the City of Belleville up to $3 million for structural work to extend the life of the Sagonaska Bridge, Todd Smith announced today.

The Bay of Quinte MPP and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services explained the funding is provided through the Ministry of Transportation’s Connecting Links Program, which supports infrastructure renewals on municipal roads and bridges that join segments of provincial highway.

With the Province contributing 90 per cent of eligible costs, the City will be able to replace extension joints, effect structural repairs, and add waterproofing to the six-lane, two-span bridge over the Moira River, built in 1978. Smith noted that while the structure had not been upgraded in its lifespan, it was starting to show signs of severe deterioration.

“This important structural link on Hwy 62 has endured weathering over the years and it had become a concern for the City,” Smith said. “Our government is committing to investing to offer peace of mind the Sagonaska Bridge and other valuable links will in good maintenance for years to come.”

Smith noted the route via North Front and Pinnacle streets is one of just four major north-south arteries in the City. It is heavily used by local residents to reach shopping destinations and Hwy 401 and serves as a major access point for the downtown, public-service facilities like Belleville General Hospital and Loyalist College, as well as Prince Edward County.

Previously, the Connecting Links program provided $157,000 for detailed design work for the Sagonaska Bridge. This further investment is a natural progression to preserve a key piece of infrastructure.

Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk welcomed the funding.

“We are very pleased to learn of the Ministry of Transportation’s decision to provide $3 million, through their 2019-2020 Connecting Links program, for the Sagonaska Bridge rehabilitation project,” Panciuk said. “The bridge carries Hwy 62/Pinnacle Street over the Moira River and is a critical connection point within the City’s road network. With this support, we are prepared to proceed quickly and get this initiative underway.”

Smith was pleased to be joined by Hastings-Lennox and Addington MPP Daryl Kramp as he met Panciuk and other City of Belleville officials for the announcement Monday.

The Connecting Links Program covers 352 km of roads and 70 bridges in 77 municipalities across Ontario. For 2019, the Province has approved $30 million in funding to support 25 projects in 23 municipalities. Design, construction, renewal, rehabilitation and replacement costs are eligible to be funded.

Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney said the fund is a good example of how the Province is partnering with municipalities to create positive change.

“We are investing in municipal roads and bridges to keep families safe and to support jobs and growth in local communities,” said Mulroney. “We are working with municipal partners to make investments to help ensure Ontario’s transportation system works for everyone.”

Eligible municipalities will be encouraged to apply for the 2020-2021 Connecting Links Program during an intake later this year.