Updated: Dec 13, 2022
This post was written in collaboration with Peel Autism Resource.
Please note there are hyperlinks in this post
This infographic shows the various components of the "needs based" OAP (Ontario Autism Program). The program consists of both direct funding and funded (free) programs.
For more information about the OAP and how to register, please go to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) website here
1) Core Clinical Services is direct funding given to families to cover:
core services (ABA, speech services, OT, mental health services)
technology (requires a letter of recommendation from a regulated health professional or Board Certified Behaviour Analyst / BCBA delivering or overseeing services to the child)
program materials and/or other therapy equipment (requires a letter of recommendation from a regulated health professional or Board Certified Behaviour Analyst / BCBA delivering or overseeing services to the child)
Guidelines for Core Clinical Services and supports can be found here
AccessOAP is the Independent Intake Organization that will be handling the administration of Core Clinical Services. Currently, families are being sent emails/letters containing transition codes so they can set up their AccessOAP accounts. This is the first step to accessing Core Clinical Services. These emails/letters are going out in order by registration date.
[NOTE: ABA is not regulated (yet). So, parents/caregivers need to do their due diligence when looking for a provider. Go here for questions to ask and things to consider if looking into ABA services]
2) Foundational Family Services are free supports for families that can include:
Family and peer mentoring
Caregiver workshops and follow-up 1:1 coaching sessions
Brief targeted consultations
Family resource and clinic days
As soon as you have been issued an OAP number (if you registered for the OAP prior to 2019 this may be the client number issued by your regional provider), you can access Foundational Family Services. These are unlimited meaning you can register for as many as you want. Families may also be able to register for services with providers outside of their region (unless stated otherwise). Because of COVID, these are being offered virtually. Providers may be able to offer them in-person once it is safe to do so.
3) Caregiver Mediated Early Years Programs (CMEY) are free evidence-based programs to help parents/caregivers learn techniques to support their children's learning. The programs offered are:
ESI/SCERTS (Early social interaction/social communication emotional regulation and transactional supports)
JASPER (Joint attention, symbolic play, engagement and regulation)
PRT (Pivotal Response Treatment)
Project ImPACT (Improving Parents as Communication Teachers)
4) Entry to School Program (ETS) is for children starting kindergarten or Grade 1 for the first time (NOTE: If your child is already attending school, they are not eligible to attend. But, you may still receive an invitation if your child is in the eligible age range as MCCSS does not have access to school registration information).
Elements of this free program will include:
a six-month, group-based, skill-building program focused on preparing children to start school
transition supports for children when they begin school
consultations to support a successful transition for the first six months a child is in school upon request
5) Urgent Response Services (URS) are free time-limited supports that will provide a rapid response to a specific, identified need to prevent further escalation or risk of harm to the child or youth, other people or property.
An urgent response service plan based on your and/or your child’s needs will provide one or more of the following services and supports for up to 12-weeks:
short-term consultation with an interdisciplinary team, which may include clinicians, family members and/or educators
time-limited respite support
service navigation to existing services within and outside of the OAP
direct support to the family and/or relevant professionals to implement behaviour intervention and therapy techniques
News release: Ontario to Implement Needs-Based Autism Program In-Line with Advisory Panel's Advice (Dec 2019)
News release: Ontario Provides More Supports for Families of Children on the Autism Spectrum (Aug 2020)
News release: Ontario Expanding Supports for Families of Children with Autism (Feb 2021)
Backgrounder: New Core Services for Children in the Ontario Autism Program (Feb 2021)
News release: Ontario Building Capacity to Support Children on the Autism Spectrum (July 2021)
News release: Ontario Increasing Access to Services for Children with Autism ( Dec 2021)
Backgrounder: Ontario Supporting Children on the Autism Spectrum and their Families (Dec 2021)