Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba - Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface, said the Pallister Government must immediately restore funding that has been cut from "inclusion support" programs to help schools pay for trained workers caring for and teaching children with autism.
Lamont received a letter from Children's House, a Montessori school, which received a 28% cut in its funding. As a result, workers will face a $5/hr cut in pay, from a living wage of over $17, to $12.46.
The October 20 letter reads, in part, "It is hard to understand a cut of 28% when the provincial government has not seen fit to raise this wage support by one cent over the last five years. We find it very hard to understand a cut that will severely damage our program while saving the government $6250 a year."
In 2016, the PCs proposed cutting the number of years of support for children with autism from five years to one for school-aged children, and three years to one for preschool. The decision was eventually reconsidered.
This summer, the PC government sent an excel file with over 9,000 names and medical records of children with disabilities to over 100 different agencies.
Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface, said that one of his children, who is on the autism spectrum, was in the list whose information was shared.
"The PCs are making children with disabilities, their families, and their workers pay the price for cuts," said Lamont. "It is quite clear to me that the PCs think people with disabilities aren't worth the money, and if they want to prove me wrong, they should reinstate this funding."
Lamont said that funding for children with special needs has been inadequate for years under the NDP and PCs alike.