NOTES FOR REMARKS IN THE SENATE ON CUTBACK TO FUNDING TO JOBS AT THE SUMMER DAY CAMP OF THE AUTISM SOCIETY OF NOVA SCOTIA

Honourable senators, I rise on a troubling issue. Today I will read excerpts from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. As honourable senators know, autism is a passion in my life since committees here in the Senate issued a report Pay Now Or Pay Later, Autism Families In Crisis, dealing with families with children with autism.

The excerpts of the article are:

Autism group has no cash for camp.

More than 40 autistic Halifax children may be left home for the summer because of changes to a federally funded student job program.

The Autism Society of Nova Scotia found out Monday afternoon it will not receive money through Canada Summer Jobs to hire staff to run its summer day camp.

Society executive director Vicky Harvey is scrambling to try to save what she terms an ‘innovative and special program.’.

For the past five years, the society has run a summer day camp in July and August.

‘These are kids who are significantly affected by autism,’ Ms. Harvey said.

Besides giving children aged six to 16 a chance to attend a structured program, it also gives their caregivers a summer respite. But since last year, the federal program has had a name change — it used to be called Summer Career Placement — and has been revamped.

Funding is determined by a point system. . . .

Last year the autism camp had 30 staffers. Seven of those positions were funded through Service Canada. . . .

As Ms. Harvey goes on to say:

‘We just finished interviewing quite a few people.’ It costs about $110,000 to run the camp.

She said that she would be very disappointed to feel that we could not run this camp again this summer.

I would like the new Government of Canada to take a deep breath, to take a look at these particular student placement programs, and take a look, for goodness’ sake, at their own website, Summer Work Experience. It says:

Canada Summer Jobs, a new initiative, provides wage subsidies to help Canadian employers of not-for-profit, public sector, and smaller private sector organizations with 50 or fewer employees create career-related summer jobs for students between the ages of 15 and 30 at the start of employment.

The initiative is specifically designed to help students having trouble finding summer jobs because of where they live and/ or other barriers.

I urge you to take a look at your program and for goodness’ sake take a look at what is going on in Nova Scotia, and listen.