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Ontario Autism Program: What is AccessOAP?

Updated: Mar 28

Please note there are hyperlinks in this article *

If you registered for the OAP (Ontario Autism Program) prior to April 2022, you should have received an email or letter with a transition code and instructions on how to set up an AccessOAP account

Please note that transition codes are only being to families who are already registered in the OAP (which was previously done through either the regional provider or directly with the Ministry). A transition code is not required if you register for the OAP directly through the AccessOAP website 

Here's a short video from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS)

(1) What is AccessOAP?

What is AccessOAP? A website and family portal designed to make accessing and coordinating autism services easier. Families currently registered with the OAP (Ontario Autism Program) should keep an eye out for an email or mail invitation with a transition code so that they can create their AccessOAP account. Once families set up an AccessOAP account, they will be able to interact with AccessOAP to learn about the services and supports available to them and their children.

Before 2019, the provincial autism program was managed regionally by providers such as Surrey Place, Erinoak, Ron Joyce, etc. Then, the Ministry centralized everything and handled administration of the program briefly from 2019-2022.

AccessOAP is a consortium comprising of Accerta Services Inc., Autism Ontario, Serefin and McMaster University (Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis or CHEPA and the Offord Centre for Child Studies). Going forward, AccessOAP will handle the administration of the OAP. The transition code in the email/letter sent to you enables the Ministry to transfer your child's file to AccessOAP.

NOTE: funding for the program and its guidelines are still under the purview of the government.

(2) How was AccessOAP created and what do they do?

In 2020, a call for applications to become  the Independent Intake Organization (IIO) -  which would handle key components of the OAP  (Ontario Autism Program) - was put out.  Responsibilities of the IIO include:  intake and registration into the OAP, overseeing the waitlist for Core Clinical Services, issuing funding to families and reconciling expenses, coordinating families’ access to  different services and supports, hiring and training Care Coordinators.  On December 2021, it was announced that the IIO  had been chosen. It was named officially as AccessOAP  and consists of Accerta Services Inc., McMaster University,  Autism Ontario, and HealthCare 365 . It was also announced then that AccessOAP  would begin supporting families in spring 2022.

(3) After I've created my AccessOAP account, what happens next?

Really depends on when you registered for the OAP. If you registered before 2019, you may eventually get a message in your AccessOAP portal about a Welcome Call. This is where your Care Coordinator will explain what AccessOAP is and next steps.

Since April, families have been receiving emails  from AccessOAP that contain a transition  code and information to create an  AccessOAP account within 30 days.  If you have received such an email,  please go to the AccessOAP website to  create your account as soon as possible.   Eventually, you will be sent a PM in the  AccessOAP portal regarding a Welcome Call with a Care Coordinator to discuss next  steps. Your Care Coordinator is your  "go-to person" re the OAP.  Please don't hesitate to reach out  if you have any questions

NOTE: A Care Coordinator won't actually be assigned to you until you receive an invitation to Core Clinical Services. However, you can still call one (or send a PM through the portal) with any questions you may have.

If you've only recently registered for the OAP, then you are still waiting a while for that invitation to Core Clinical Services. Once your registration has been processed, your child will be issued an OAP number. This is unique to your child and should be kept for reference. To register for free programs such as Foundational Family Services, you will be asked to provide it.

Your AccessOAP portal will indicate which programs your child is eligible for.

Image is a screen capture of a part of the AccessOAP Dashboard that shows the programs a child registered in  OAP may be eligible for
Image is a screen capture of a part of the AccessOAP Dashboard that shows the programs a child registered in OAP may be eligible for

Please see our blog post listing a few things you can do while waiting for Core Clinical Services here

(4) How do I register for the OAP?

As of October 2022, newly diagnosed families can register for the OAP through the AccessOAP website or via PDF. You can also contact AccessOAP to send you a paper copy of the registration form.

(5) When will I get an invitation to Core Clinical Services?

Invitations to Core Clinical Services are being sent to families in order by registration date.

When children and youth will enter core clinical services. Children and youth will be invited to enter core clinical services in the order that they registered for the Ontario Autism Program. This was recommended by the Ontario Autism Advisory Panel
Image is a screen capture from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services website

Once you get an invitation, you can schedule the Determination of Needs (DON). This is where a Care Coordinator (different from the one assigned to you) will ask you questions about your child’s goals, strengths and support needs across ten domains. This information will be used to determine your funding allocation.

If you have any concerns and complaints related to AccessOAP (website, portal, DON, etc.), you can contact them via their website here

NOTE: AccessOAP is not responsible for the policies that govern the OAP. Those concerns should be directed to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Do you have questions about the OAP? Ask us! If you're struggling to navigate autism services in Ontario, reach out and we can help guide you!

Related links:

* Disclaimer: Please note that the content posted here is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. In using this website, you accept that Balance Support and Self Care Studios will not be held liable for any discrepancies or errors, claims, liabilities, losses, costs, damages or expenses (including attorney's fees) arising from the use of the information contained thereon. The resources, products, and providers listed do not signify endorsement. It is your responsibility to verify any information obtained from this website to your own satisfaction

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