Budget cuts by Campbell government hurt vulnerable young children and leave 40 highly-trained therapists without jobs.
Victoria (2 Feb. 2010) - A vigil for "autism services" was held at the British Columbia legislature Monday to protest the closing this week of the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) program, another victim of funding cuts by the Campbell government.
Forty experienced and highly-trained therapists lost their jobs at the end of January at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Child Health on Vancouver Island.
The Health Sciences Association of British Columbia (HSABC/NUPGE) says the cuts were signalled last fall when Mary Polak, the minister for children and family development, announced that funding for autism services for children under age six would be cut by more than $3 million.
Polak attempted to disguise the cut as an improvement in service by saying that the loss of a $5 million intensive therapy program for some autistic children would free up enough money to raise individual funding for autistic children under six to $22,000 from $20,000.
However, when compared to the actual number of autistic children in the province, the move reduces overall funding to the under six group by more than $3 million. Meanwhile, the additional $2,000 per child barely covers the increased cost that families will bear when they begin paying HST on autism services next year.
HSABC members participated in the vigil on the steps of the legislature. The demonstration was organized by the mothers' group called Fighting Autism Intervention Reductions (FAIR).
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
• Undermining children no way to balance budgets