Overview

For families with existing behaviour plans, below you will find information on the guidelines and qualifications that practitioners must follow.

For families with childhood budgets or interim one-time funding, you can refer to the list of eligible services available to purchase.

Guidelines for providers of existing behaviour plans

For families with existing behaviour plans, providers are expected to continue to deliver the services outlined in a child or youth’s plan until its end date.

Families can extend their plan with no gap in service up to its current level of intensity, or less where clinically appropriate, until they transition into core services offered in the new needs-based autism program. As per the Ontario Autism Program behaviour plan instructions, it is expected that clinicians are conducting regular reviews every six months to assess a child’s progress and set goals. Service providers will discuss the extension of behaviour plans with families prior to their plan’s expiration.

Further information about developing behaviour plans, including the key elements and details that must be included, can be found in the Ontario Autism Program behaviour plan instructions. These instructions outline the necessary steps for developing a behaviour plan for families registered to the program before April 1, 2019.

Further information about how the Ontario Autism Program was delivered across the province before April 1, 2019, including information on the goal of the program and how services and supports are defined, delivered and monitored can be found in the Ontario Autism Program guidelines.

Providers must continue to use the tools listed below and all associated processes for developing and delivering existing behaviour plans and plans that are being renewed.

As of February 6, 2019 there were changes to the OAP guidelines and OAP behaviour plan budget template and instructions.

Reimbursement process

If a family has a behaviour plan and is receiving services through the direct funding option, service providers are expected to continue to follow the process for reimbursement in the Ontario Autism Program budget instructions.

Ontario Autism Program provider list

The Ontario Autism Program provider list is a directory of clinicians who meet the required qualifications to provide autism services through the Ontario Autism Program. Families use this list to access experienced and trained professionals to provide safe, high-quality autism services.

Currently, the list includes clinical supervisors of behavioural services.

Beginning in September 2021, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists can also apply to join the Ontario Autism Program provider list.

It is voluntary for professionals to join the provider list. Families can continue to work with clinical supervisors, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists who choose not to join the list.

Qualifications for clinical supervisors of behavioural services

Clinical supervisors of behavioural services funded through the Ontario Autism Program (including behavioural services purchased using childhood budgets or interim one-time funding) must have, or be working toward, meeting the required qualifications.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have extended the deadline for clinical supervisors to meet the required qualifications.

By December 31, 2021, clinical supervisors must have:

  • one of the following professional credentials:
    • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA or BCBA-Doctoral)
    • Clinical Psychologist or Psychological Associate registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) with documented expertise in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), such as relevant certifications, transcripts or syllabi showing completed coursework and supervised training comparable to the requirements to take the BCBA or BCBA-Doctoral exam
  • a completed vulnerable sector screening or police records background check
  • professional liability insurance (purchased individually or through an employer)
  • adherence to a professional code of conduct

By April 1, 2024, Ontario Autism Program clinical supervisors must meet all other qualification requirements, including:

  • at least 3,000 hours of post-certification or registration experience (typically completed over two years) providing ABA services to children and youth on the autism spectrum. This experience must:
    • have been acquired after the person obtained their BCBA or BCBA-Doctoral credentials or registered with the CPO (prior practicum experience or field work hours do not count)
    • include at least 1,500 hours of supervisory tasks

These deadlines replace the original April 1, 2021 qualification deadline.

Practitioners can continue to clinically supervise behavioural services in the Ontario Autism Program if they are working towards the qualification requirements.

If practitioners are unable to meet or upgrade their qualifications by April 1, 2024, they will be able to provide behavioural services in the program only if they are supervised by a behavioural clinician who has all the required clinical supervisor qualifications.

Clinical supervisors who are not on the provider list

All clinical supervisors of behavioural services who are not currently listed on the Ontario Autism Program provider list must complete and sign the clinical supervisor attestation form.

Unlisted clinical supervisors must give clients the signed attestation form before beginning to deliver services.

Families who use a childhood budget or interim one-time funding to purchase behavioural services must submit a copy of the signed attestation form to the ministry with their expenses.

Qualifications for speech-language pathologists

Beginning in September 2021, speech-language pathologists who wish to join the OAP provider list must meet the following required qualifications:

  • registered and in good standing with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO)
  • at least one year of post-registration experience providing direct treatment/intervention to autistic children and youth, acquired within the last five years. This one year of experience must follow completion of the CASLPO mentoring process. Experience providing only indirect services (for example not seeing clients or families on a regular basis to support the use of specific strategies to help clients meet their goals) does not count towards the one-year experience requirement.
  • a recent vulnerable sector screening or police records background check, completed within the past year
  • as part of their College registration, providers must have professional liability insurance (purchased individually or through an employer)
  • adhere to a professional code of ethics (such as the CASLPO code of ethics) and standards of the profession

Speech-language pathologists who are not listed on the OAP provider list can continue to provide speech-language pathology services to families in the Ontario Autism Program. They do not have to complete an attestation form.

Qualifications for occupational therapists

Beginning in September 2021, occupational therapists who wish to join the OAP provider list must meet the following required qualifications:

  • registered and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO)
  • at least one year of post-registration experience providing direct treatment/intervention to autistic children and youth, acquired within the last five years. Experience providing only indirect services (for example not seeing clients or families on a regular basis to support the use of specific strategies to help clients meet their goals) does not count towards the one-year experience requirement.
  • a recent vulnerable sector screening or police records background check, completed within the past year
  • as part of their College registration, providers must have professional liability insurance (purchased individually or through an employer)
  • adhere to a professional code of ethics (such as COTO code of ethics) and standards of the profession.

Occupational therapists who are not listed on the OAP provider list can continue to provide occupational therapy services to families in the Ontario Autism Program. They do not have to complete an attestation form.

Directing families to other services

Children and youth with autism may be eligible for other government programs for children with special needs.

If you are a practitioner who provides autism services, families may ask for help in accessing transition planning beginning at age 14 for their youth with developmental disabilities as they prepare for adulthood.

School boards and community service providers work together to help young people and their families with the transition to adult life. These transition plans involve others who may be familiar with the young person with a developmental disability, including principals, educators, students, their families and others such as community service and health care providers.

You may be asked to contribute to transition planning that can include:

  • a young person’s goals for work, education and community living
  • transition from secondary school and youth services to adulthood
  • preparation for family members to help support these transitions

For more information, families are advised to contact their regional office.

Learn more about school-based supports for students with autism.

Registering for the Ontario Autism Program

All children and youth under age 18 with a written diagnosis of autism from a qualified professional can register for the Ontario Autism Program.

Find out more about what families need to know about the Ontario Autism Program.

Information about childhood budgets and interim one-time funding

While we develop a new needs-based program, childhood budgets and interim one-time funding provide families with direct funding so they can purchase eligible services for their child and family.

Find out more about what families need to know about childhood budgets.

Find out more about what families need to know about interim one-time funding.

Selecting Ontario Autism Program service providers

As part of the ongoing implementation of the new Ontario Autism Program we will issue calls for applications and proposals from public and private organizations that wish to deliver key elements of the new program.

Learn more about the selection process for service providers and find the calls for application or proposals.