Monday, June 26, 2017

we're told there is no money or that the families must provide because the money is going to big oil or Bombardier

#IstandforRobynandherfamily-----------Just based on the history of problems faced by one family with a severely autistic child you get the general picture of why there would be a shortened life span for these kids. All the stresses of trying to find a placement and then trying to stay in that placement without being evicted to a hospital add to the usual stresses of being handicapped in a world that is not inclusive.
Beyond the stresses there are mental health issues that can result in suicide. Shortened life spans of the handicapped is a given. We then have the additional insult of DNR orders put on their files as in the case of my handicapped sister at the Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton. All of this junk adds up to lives without dignity, full of suffering for the handicapped citizen as well as the family. It's all so unnecessary.
We need to have services and supports for these children in a full life cycle format. Kids don't grow out of disabilities like autism. We need housing and we need supports while these kids are in the government provided housing. Families are stressed, without options and their kids are in hospital. It's all so ridiculous.When will government all over Canada hear us?

and we take our words and we speak about our…

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and we take our words
and we speak
about our children
who are not serviced properly by government
we don't raise our voices
or strum our guitars
we simply write day after day
and tell the truth about the failures in service provision
and in this way we get results from the political hires

and we take our words
and we speak
about our children
there are no excuses for these failures in service delivery
if the private sector cannot provide then end these contracts
let us do it in the public sector      where we can have accountability
give us what we want         which is the lives of our beloved children
and don't give us spin  
we're all mummies and we won't take the lies

and we take our words
and we speak
about our children
we see them rotting in place like mice in traps
and we see the entitled bureaucrats tell us to run the government maze
or simply shut up about the disgrace
we're told there is no money or that the families must provide
because the money is going to big oil or Bombardier 
our children die prematurely   and suicide is failed service delivery realized
Robin Schulz - Sugar (feat. Francesco Yates) (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

Letter sent this morning to NB Health Minister Boudreau copied to the Premier and some MLA's interested in autism issues. Photos included in the letter are attached again to this post.
Hon. Victor Boudreau
Minister of Health PNB
Dear Minister Boudreau
Re: Public Health Crisis - Early Death in Autism - Persons with Autism Die 16-30 Years Early
I have been an active autism advocate for the paste 18 years having advocated with other autism parents for NB's internationally recognized early autism program and for the autism training of education aides. We also advocated successfully for the reversal of the government decision to close the Stan Cassidy autism team which provides services to age 16. Adult autism, however, has seen no significant progress, and has been generally ignored in NB. I am providing you now with a link to the report of the UK charity Autistica study of Premature Autism Mortality, Personal tragedies, public crisis The urgent need for a national response to early death in autism for the purpose of drawing your government's attention to a shocking health crisis which is ignored in Canada generally and in NB specifically - the substantial premature mortality rates of persons with autism disorders.
Some excerpts from the Executive Summary conclude this email submission. The report itself is based on a large data pool from Sweden and concludes that persons with autism die on average 16 years younger than persons in the general population. For persons with autism, intellectual disability and epilepsy, a large subgroup of the autism spectrum, the news is much worse. In this group persons can die as much as 30 years younger. This shocking figure is of concern to me as an autism advocate and as the father of a 21 year old son with autism, intellectual disability and epilepsy.
For persons with no intellectual disability the primary cause for the early deaths is suicide. For persons with autism AND intellectual disability the primary cause of early death is epilepsy.
This information is provided to draw your government's attention, and that of other interested persons, to the shocking and ignored autism early death rates. I hope that your government takes it seriously and begins to pay attention to this crisis and to other adult autism issues.
Inline image 1
Harold L Doherty
Conor's Dad
Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubillee Medal Recipient - Autism Advocacy
63 Alder Avenue, Fredericton, NB E3A 1T1
506 447-1592
Executive Summary - Page 3 - Personal Tragedies, public crisis
Many families and autistic individuals have raised concerns over early deaths in autistic people. Ground-breaking new research now confirms the true scale of the mortality crisis in autism: autistic people die on average 16 years earlier than the general population. For those with autism and learning disabilities, the outlook is even more appalling, with this group dying more than 30 years before their time.
Research studies across the world have confirmed that autistic people are at an increased risk of early death. A large study from Sweden in late 2015 made this case stronger than ever by analysing a very large, high quality dataset to compare the general population, autistic people, and people with both autism and a learning disability.
Two findings relative to the general population are particularly striking:
Yet there is still very limited awareness and understanding of the scale of premature mortality for the 700,000 autistic people in the UK and hence very little action to date to reduce it. This hidden crisis demands a national response.
The large Swedish study as reported by Autistica points out that there are a number of reasons for the shocking early mortality rates of autistic adults but indicates two factors which are particularly significant causes of early death: epilepsy among persons with autism and learning disabilities and suicide among those with autism without a learning disability as stated in the image above:
Epilepsy in autism
Between 20% and 40% of autistic people also have epilepsy and this rate increases steadily with age – in contrast to a one percent prevalence rate in the general population. 10 In the typical population, the risk of epilepsy is greatest in a child’s first year, decreasing in risk through childhood, then remaining stable and not increasing again until old age. 11,12,13 In the majority of autistic people who develop epilepsy, their seizures do not appear until their teenage years, much later than average.5,14 This suggests that the underlying triggers of epilepsy may be different in autism.
Autistic adults who also have a learning disability have been found to be almost 40 times more likely to die from a neurological disorder relative to the general population – with the leading cause being epilepsy.3 Despite the very high prevalence of seizures in autistic people and the high death rate from epilepsy, there has been virtually no research to establish whether treatments used for epilepsy are safe or effective in the autistic population. More research is urgently needed into the relationship between epilepsy and autism and the impact of epilepsy over the lifespan in autistic adults.
Suicide in autism
After heart disease, suicide is now the leading cause of early death in adults with autism and no learning disability. Indeed, the recent Swedish study found that adults with autism and no additional learning disability are over 9 times more likely (relative to a general population) to commit suicide.3
The recent report from the Mental Health Taskforce identified autistic people as at higher risk of mental health problems.15 Indeed, research indicates that 70% of autistic individuals have one mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, and 40% have at least two mental health problems.4 When these issues appear alongside autism, mental health difficulties can go undiagnosed and untreated.
Multiple studies suggest that between 30% and 50% of autistic people have considered committing suicide.16,17, 18 One study found that 14% of autistic children experience suicidal thoughts compared to 0.5% of typically developing children.19 Another recent study of adults with Asperger syndrome found that two-thirds of participants had lifetime experience of suicidal thoughts and a third of participants had planned or attempted suicide.20
While there are certainly examples of good practice in some locations, the comparative statistics indicate that the majority of mental health and related services are not sufficiently skilled to meet the needs of autistic people with an additional mental health problem, including suicidal thoughts. Numerous personal accounts illustrate how this impacts on the lives of autistic individuals and those who love them. 21
Attachments area

Julie Ali Part of the problem of shortened life spans for the severely handicapped is due to the lack of integrated care plans providing the supports and services they need; in Alberta where I live we have a failure in diagnosis, treatment and housing for all severely handicapped citizens. My handicapped sister is now in a SL4 site (supportive living site) where I keep track of her care. The lack of trained staff, the lack of sufficient staff and the lack of specialist help for facility staff increases the risks for premature termination of severely handicapped citizens within the medical system. For example at the Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton the doctors were putting Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders on my sister's file for years. This happened despite the Personal Directive indicating full resuscitation. What this entire fiasco of attempts by doctors to terminate my sister's life indicated to me that even before we consider the problems of suicide is that there is a failure to accommodate the handicapped in our society and when there are repeated hospital/emergency visits the system reacts punitively. Without advocacy such severely handicapped citizens are at risk of premature termination or outright euthanasia in my opinion. But how will families know unless they get the medical records and read the chatter of the physicians? The failures of the system in Alberta are acute and ongoing. I advise any family with a handicapped citizen to ask for the medical records when you suspect that the system is not willing to endorse recovery. Sad but true. The multiple hospital visits, the DNR orders and the attempts at premature termination were due to failures in care by the system. Add to the system wide failures in provision of a proper integrated care plan the mental health crisis and you have a double whammy for handicapped citizens. Frankly speaking its a wonder that these citizens make it out of childhood alive.

ReplyJust now

Autism and Related Disorders in New Brunswick

TUESDAY, MAY 30, 2017

Mike Lake's Canadian Autism Partnership Motion Defeated And That's A Good Thing

Long time "autism parent" and autism advocate Andrew Kavchak has fought for real treatment for autism as shown in this picture with the late Andy Scott the former MP and highly respected disability advocate from Fredericton, NB.  Kavchak has criticized Mike Lake's motion for a Canadian Autism Partnership as a bureaucracy which would provide no meaningful results to address autism challenges in Canada.

As the information from the Canadian House of Commons Agenda and Decisions website page set out below indicates the opposition motion of  MP Mike Lake was defeated today by a vote of 167 to 130 and this "autism" dad and long time autism advocate is happy.  Sure the motion talks about an autism partnership and requests $19 million but there is no credible way of maintaining that the $19 million dollars would do anything more than create a new quasi governmental bureaucracy one which would not  involve any of the Canadian autism advocates in BC, Ontario or NB whose efforts led to the establishment across Canada of early autism intervention services.  For an excellent analysis of the lack of merit of the motion see the commentary More bureaucracy not the solution for autism treatment by long time, and credible,  autism advocate Andrew Kavchak

The Motion sponsor, Mr. Lake, has  himself  not been supportive during his years in the Harper government of any meaningful federal role in ensuring that autistic persons across Canada have their complex health and life challenges addressed.  Anyone interested in Mike Lake's non support for autism initiatives while part of the Harper government can enter his name in the search bar of Facing Autism in New Brunswick.  You will find several articles on the subject.

I did attend a meeting of the CAPP team held in Fredericton and I was not impressed.  I saw nothing beyond the usual divide everyone into tables then shuffle them around to make sure that  no meaningful discussion could take place and no meaningful goals identified and advanced. My perception was that the CAPP organizers were more focused on establishing their organization than in advancing much needed autism services.

Autism advocates have achieved some success in parts of Canada, including here in NB, in early autism intervention and the NB model has been recommended for consideration by other provinces.  We have also through parent advocacy achieved some progress in educating autistic children.  Adult autism treatment and residential care is non existent and we need to focus on getting results for autistic adults and improving school services not building a new self serving bureaucracy that will assist governments in refusing to focus on providing badly needed autism services.

3:26 p.m.
Opposition Motion
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Yeas 130 | Nays 167

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Text of the Motion
That, given that: (a) Autism Spectrum Disorder (“autism”) is widely considered the fastest growing neurological disorder in Canada, impacting an estimated 1 in 68 children; (b) it is a lifelong diagnosis that manifests itself in a wide-range of symptoms, including difficulty communicating, social impairments, and restricted and repetitive behaviour; (c) individuals with autism and their families face unique challenges over their lifespan, often leading to families in crisis situations; and (d) Autism Spectrum Disorder is not just a health issue — it has overarching implications for Canadian society as a whole; accordingly, the House call on the government to grant the $19 million over 5 years requested by the Canadian Autism Partnership working group, Self-Advocates advisory group, and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance, in order to establish a Canadian Autism Partnership that would support families and address key issues such as information sharing and research, early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
Mike Lake
Latest Activity
Debated (5/18/2017)
Posted by HL Doherty at 4:53 PM

1 comment:

  • I may have some faith restored. I have personally spoken to Mike Lake about this project and his role in the autism community. He has zero interest in advocating for a national autism strategy or increasing access to treatment for all Canadians. In fact he has voted AGAINST a national strategy.

  • The Liberals have an autism medicare resolution that should be in play for enactment that is where some effective advocacy can make a difference on the "front lines".

  • Thank you Harold L Doherty for this article.

Misplaced medical files delays autistic child's treatment

CBC News Posted: May 21, 2014 12:26 PM ET Last Updated: May 21, 2014 12:26 PM ET
North Bay's Michelle Webster says when she went to sign up her daughter for an intensive behaviour program, she was told Robyn's file wasn't in the system — including her diagnosis, psychological assessments, and genetic history.
North Bay's Michelle Webster says when she went to sign up her daughter for an intensive behaviour program, she was told Robyn's file wasn't in the system — including her diagnosis, psychological assessments, and genetic history. (Jesse Webster)
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A mother in North Bay says a ministry organization misplaced her autistic daughter's medical files, delaying an important treatment.
Michelle Webster thought her daughter's medical information was lost by the group providing her daughter's treatment. Three weeks later, Webster was told the information had simply been archived.
Webster said people are unaware of the difficulties families with autistic children have in obtaining services.
“Parents burn out from the system really easily. And this is one of the reasons why,” she said.
“It's because things that should be easy questions to ask and be answered, that agencies should know the answers to, are sometimes really difficult.”

Communication breakdown

Webster's 12-year-old daughter Robyn has severe autism and has limited verbal communication. Robyn was becoming violent and Webster needed immediate help.
She went to apply for an intensive behaviour program, offered locally through a provincially funded group called the Family Help Network — also known as Hands — but was told Robyn's file wasn't in the system. That file included Robyn's diagnosis, psychological assessments, and genetic history.
It was something they “definitely should have had because Robyn has been receiving services at Hands since she was two years old,” she said.
After three weeks of questions, Webster took to Facebook to voice her concerns.
That's when she was contacted by Jeffrey Hawkins, the group's executive director.
He told her the information she thought was lost had simply been archived.
“Clearly there was a communication breakdown by us. And that shouldn't have happened,’ Hawkins said.
Webster said she doesn't blame the organization, but is upset her daughter didn't get the treatment she desperately needed.
The executive director of the group said he's apologized for the mix-up and will ensure future employees know how to access the files.


North Bay mom blogs about daily life with kids on the autism spectrum

You get your diagnosis and no one ever tells you — Here, this is what you do next'

By Marina von Stackelberg, CBC News Posted: Apr 01, 2016 2:46 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 01, 2016 2:46 PM ET
Michelle Webster posed for a photo with her 14-year-old daughter Robyn, who has severe autism. “I really just wanted as many people having conversations about autism," Webster says about her daily video blogs.
Michelle Webster posed for a photo with her 14-year-old daughter Robyn, who has severe autism. “I really just wanted as many people having conversations about autism," Webster says about her daily video blogs. (Provided.)







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A North Bay mom is giving people a candid and personal look into life with two autistic children.
As part of World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, Michelle Webster started posting video blogs on Facebook.
In the videos she talks about everything from dealing with meltdowns and difficult family functions, to showcasing the unique personalities and behaviours of her kids.
Two of Webster's three kids have autism. Her 10-year-old son Max has moderate to severe autism, while 14-year-old Robyn has severe autism and is unable to communicate using words.

"Sometimes I feel like the images and the messages that are put out there by some autism agencies and the media don't really reflect my kids," Webster told CBC News.
"I thought it was really the best way I could think of to promote awareness and education about what autism is really like to live with."
She said that having two kids on opposite sides of the autism spectrum gives her a unique perspective.

Support decreases as kids age, mother says

Webster said she welcomes $333 million in new funding for autism recently announced by the Ontario government, but she's concerned the money is primarily focused on children under the age of six.
She noted people often think of autism as a childhood disorder, when it isn't.
"What happens is your children grow, their services deplete, and their needs increase. And when you put all those dynamics together, it makes for a very scary place."

Webster said getting support is a constant struggle — and the effort has sometimes left her pleading with agencies for help.
A year ago, when Robyn was dealing with violent episodes, Webster ended up at her local Community Living begging for help.
"I was bawling. And I was angry. And I just spewed at them. And I said, 'you have to do something. And if you don't know what to do you have to find me someone that does so my family can survive this and so that Robyn can be safe'," she said.
"It's really unfortunate that things have to get to complete crisis."
Through her blog, Webster said she hopes to give people a personal take on her experiences, and give them a human face to a disorder that affects 1 in 68 people. Autism is now the fastest growing and most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in Canada.
"I really just wanted as many people having conversations about autism this week and I think that it's been achieved."

No place in North Bay for severely autistic daughter

Friday, May 26, 2017 12:35:14 EDT AM
Robyn Webster, 15, remains at North Bay Regional Health Centre following a violent incident last week during which the teen harmed herself. Robyn's mother, Michelle, is upset Hands: The Family Help Network has terminated Robyn's spot from the family home she has been living in since January. Hands said it hopes to meet with the family this week to discuss possible options.
Submitted photo
Robyn Webster, 15, remains at North Bay Regional Health Centre following a violent incident last week during which the teen harmed herself. Robyn's mother, Michelle, is upset Hands: The Family Help Network has terminated Robyn's spot from the family home she has been living in since January. Hands said it hopes to meet with the family this week to discuss possible options. Submitted photo

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Michelle Webster has reached a breaking point.
“The stress has put me over the edge. I'm broken. I'm done,” she said Thursday afternoon from the North Bay Regional Health Centre.
Webster has been fighting on behalf of her daughter, Robyn.
Robyn, 15, was admitted to the hospital just over two weeks ago after punching herself in the face until she was black and blue.
“She's hitting herself because she wants to tell you she's hurting,” Webster said.
“This was bad, but I can tell you it has been much worse. The bruising has been so bad, I didn't recognize her. She was black, blue, yellow, purple and green.”
Robyn is nonverbal autistic. She was diagnosed with autism at about 18 months and started to self-harm by the age of 11.
Robyn has inflicted countless bruises to her face, sustained a broken nose and caused blindness in one eye from the blunt force of her fists to her face.
In January, Robyn was moved into a family home operated by Hands: The Family Help Network that offers 24-hour care for children with complex needs.
Webster said the family spent a year contemplating the move and  was assured staff were aware of Robyn's needs.
“She loves it there,” Webster said.
But a week ago Webster was notified her daughter's spot at the family home was being terminated because Robyn requires a greater degree of care.
Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director of Hands, said he intends to meet with family by the end of the week to review options for Robyn.
“The family needs to be part of the discussion,” he said Thursday. “There are options for Robyn. However, they're not local, they're not in the North Bay community.”
Hawkins said Hands is trying to find them as close as possible, but it looks like they are 90 minutes to two hours away.
“We're working with our community partners. Unfortunately, there is nothing in this area for Robyn.
“This is a very unique circumstance,” he said.
Webster said as of Thursday afternoon she still had no idea what that means or what options Robyn has left.
“They (Hands) assured us they were up for this challenge. They told us they could deal with Robyn and they wouldn't leave her,” she said. “We told them when we were discussing the idea of moving Robyn into (the family home) that if they couldn't handle her needs to let us know, because it would be more harmful to move her in and out of facilities.”
Robyn has been moved from the hospital's critical care unit to the paediatric ward. It's unknown how long she will remain in hospital.
“There's no place for her to go,” Webster said. “They have abandoned us. I just hope Hands is using this time to come up with a crisis response for Robyn.”
Webster said it's becoming more difficult to see her daughter in the hospital.
“She uses her iPad and eye movements. She looks at me and starts to cry and says 'car.'
“I know she wants to get out of the hospital. There's no reason for Robyn to be living in the hospital.”
Webster said the hospital has been the family's saving grace and a champion for the family.
She said she's been assured Robyn will not be discharged with no place to go.
“I would have preferred to be working with Hands, but they're not picking up the telephone,” Webster said. “They're not talking to us.”
The a-team diary
I realize that it is hard for people to understand why we just can't bring Robyn home. This type of autism doesn't make ch the images that even our own agencies and advocates portray. We tried believe me we did. We would like nothing better than to look around our house and see our family together happy and safe. But that is not the reality of the situation but besides that there are a few political and logistical reasons why that is not possible.
1. If we take Robyn home. We fill the gap of the ministries responsibility to provide care. Care on the 24/7 level that Robyn has become accustomed to and desperately needs. And this ranks her Lower on the priority list for residential placement.
2. The minute we placed Robyn in residential placement we were stripped of all of our local funding for her support in terms of ssah and respite services so I have no access to funds to support her in our home.
3. Robyn no longer associates our home as home. It is a trigger for behaviour, which breaks my heart.
I have thought many times of video taping her behaviour so that people can really see what self injury and aggression looks like. But I can't bring myself to invade her privacy in that way and out her out there in a public forum at her worst.
My daughter does very well when properly supported. And it is the greatest pain in my life to realize that I can't give her what she needs. But loving her as I do, I owe it to her to put my selfish need to want her with me to advocate for what truly improves her quality of life. And sadly that is not in our home. I miss her every day. And I understand that people don't understand but I would ask that you be kind in your comments as this has been the hardest part of our autism journey as a family.
Michelle, jesse , emma, max and of course my sweet Robyn.
This is a pic of Robyn today in her new temporary home the north bay regional health centre.
Julie Ali

although you have no path to follow nor a map you have begun to speak and this is necessary to get the help you…
Pat Madill Stamp Heart breaking. No other words.


3 hrs


'It felt cruel': Family seeking solution for nonverbal, autistic, self-harming teen

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details and images

By Olivia Stefanovich, CBC News Posted: May 23, 2017 5:06 AM ET Last Updated: May 23, 2017 4:38 PM ET
Robyn Webster, 15, is nonverbal and has severe autism. She was recently admitted to hospital because of self-harm.
Robyn Webster, 15, is nonverbal and has severe autism. She was recently admitted to hospital because of self-harm. (Michelle Webster/Supplied)







About The Author

Photo of Olivia Stefanovich
Olivia Stefanovich
Olivia Stefanovich is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury, Ont. She covers a wide range of topics for radio, TV and online. Connect with her on Twitter @CBCOlivia. Send story ideas to

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Morning North
Nowhere to go for North Bay family's severely autistic daughter
A northern Ontario family is desperately searching for help after being told their severely autistic, nonverbal teenage daughter will not be able to return to her community care residence because of self-injurious behaviour.
Robyn Webster, 15, recently hurt herself so badly that she ended up in hospital.
"As her mom, I can't even put into words what it's like to look at your child hitting herself in the face," Robyn's mother Michelle said.
"Swelling, bruising, breaking her nose multiple times. Knowing that she desperately needs something and wants something, and with no way to help her it's the worst kind of helplessness ever."
Robyn was receiving 24 hour support at a residence in North Bay, Ont., run by Hands: The Family Help Network through a one year financial grant of $181,804 from the Ontario government.
Jesse and Michelle Webster
Robyn Webster's parents, Jesse and Michelle, are trying to find a long-term care solution to suit her needs. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)
Robyn began to transition into the facility last June, but only moved in on a full-time basis last December.
Five months later, The Family Help Network began the process of terminating Robyn's placement on May 15 because the administration said she needs a higher level of service.

'Incredibly shocked'

"It felt cruel," Michelle said.
"We are incredibly shocked to hear that that was the approach they were taking upon the first time that she ran into crisis when we had done our best to advise them that this was most likely going to come their way."
Robyn Webster
Robyn Webster lost her vision in her right eye due to self-injury, according to her mom Michelle. (Michelle Webster/Supplied)
Robyn was diagnosed with autism at 18 months, according to Michelle, and started to self-harm when she turned 11.
Robyn lost her vision in her right eye due to self-injury, and can at times become aggressive towards others.
"[It's] very much like being on the inside of an abusive family," Michelle said.
"It's out of context because it's a child against parents, but in essence that's what my other children are watching. They're watching their sibling very seriously hurting their parent. They're watching their parent engage in physical confrontation with one of their siblings. It is not mentally healthy."

'No way to keep our family safe'

The Websters said they cannot let Robyn live at their home anymore.
"There was no way to keep our family safe," Michelle said.
"It was leading to the breakdown of our family. A breakdown of our marriage ... We are desperate to keep our family together."
Robyn Webster
Robyn Webster's family wants her to receive treatment close to their home in North Bay, Ont. (Michelle Webster/Supplied)
Hands was also challenged by Robyn's condition and that is why the organization is recommending that she seek other support for her "high intensity" needs, according to Hands executive director Jeffrey Hawkins.
"We've worked our darndest," Hawkins said.
"We're disappointed and we're sorry that new circumstances evolved."
It is not clear if there is a setting available in North Bay to support Robyn's needs, according to Hawkins, but he said his health network will be working with the family on a transition plan.

Family help network 'not abandoning' Robyn

"We're not abandoning, but we're putting the interests of the child and youth at the forefront, and we're staying the course," Hawkins said.
"As long as they [Robyn's family] want us to be part of it, we're prepared to be there."
The provincial funding that was given to Robyn will either follow her to another facility or be returned to the government, according to Hawkins.
Jeffrey Hawkins
Jeffrey Hawkins is the executive director of Hands: The Family Health Network in North Bay, Ont. (Joel Ashak/Radio-Canada)
"My sadness comes from the fact that for some reason it seems justifiable to withdraw care based on level of need," Michelle said.
"We define our society by how we treat our most vulnerable. If that's any definition of the kind of value we place in people like Robyn, than I am really, really sad."
Agencies that work with children on the autism spectrum are stretched to their limits, according to France Gelinas who is Ontario NDP health critic and Nickel Belt MPP.
"Those children fall basically through all the cracks possible," Gelinas said.
"Their parents become responsible for those kids and most of the time it ends up with finding a home far away, always in southern Ontario ... I don't understand. We have so many of them having to go down south, why don't we build those resources up here?"

Autism assistance lacking: MPP

The provincial government recently announced an overhaul to Ontario's autism program that will allow people to choose between government-funded services or receiving funding to pay for private therapy, but Gelinas said she still feels families in rural, northern areas will be "shortchanged."
France Gelinas
France Gelinas, Nickel Belt MPP. (Joel Ashak/Radio-Canada)
"Between what was announced and what's actually being rolled out and what we can see on the ground, there's a big gap between the two," Gelinas said.
"We owe it to every child to give them a chance to achieve their full potential and I know that the children up north that have high needs are not getting that."
If possible, Michelle would like to keep Robyn near her home in North Bay, as she is not convinced the services in southern Ontario are much better.

'This is so much bigger'

"I've spent 15 years advocating for my daughter and collecting this great community of people who are willing to fight for her," Michelle said.
"If she's living outside of North Bay, I have to start that process all over again."
Michelle Webster and Robyn Webster
Michelle Webster and her daughter Robyn in happier times. (Michelle Webster/Supplied)
Michelle blogs about her journey with Robyn on Facebook.
She worries about what services will be in place in the future for people who have conditions like her daughter's.
"There may not be a happy ending to our story, but this is so much bigger," Michelle said.
"The statistics for kids with autism are one in 68 now. One in 68. So how does that play out when these kids get older? It's not going away. It's only going to get worse ... There will always be the Robyns in this world. There will always be people that need that level of care."

Trudeau defends government aid to Bombardier after its senior execs boosted their pay by nearly 50%

The prime minister says he respects the free market and the choices that companies make, but his government also has a responsibility to help create sustainable jobs

The Canadian Press
March 30, 2017
4:16 PM EDT
Filed under
BRAMPTON, Ont. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending his government’s decision to provide federal assistance to Bombardier after the company’s senior executives saw their compensation rise by nearly 50 per cent last year.
After touring a Magna auto parts facility in Brampton, Ont., today, Trudeau was asked several times how he can justify the $372.5-million loan package announced in February for Bombardier’s CSeries and Global 7000 aircraft programs.
Trudeau says he respects the free market and the choices that companies make, but his government also has a responsibility to ensure public investments help create sustainable jobs.
Total compensation for the Montreal-based manufacturer’s top five executives and board chairman was US$32.6 million in 2016, up from US$21.9 million the year before, according to a proxy circular ahead of Bombardier’s annual meeting on May 11.
The hike came at a time when Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) laid off thousands of workers as part of a turnaround plan.

Canada's $3.3-Billion Subsidy To Oil An 'Anti-Carbon Tax': Groups

11/15/2016 01:53 EST | Updated 11/16/2016 12:22 EST

  • Bob Weber, The Canadian PressCP
A study suggests Canada's attempts to set a price on carbon are being undercut by subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry.
A coalition of four environmental groups have summed up tax exemptions, investment credits and royalty breaks used by the fossil- fuel industry and compared the total against emissions data from Environment Canada.
The "carbon subsidy'' averages out to the equivalent of $19 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
fort mcmurray
A large oil refinery along the Athabasca River, Fort McMurray, Alberta. (Photo: Getty Images)
That almost equals the price on carbon Alberta plans to implement next year, doubles the proposed initial federal price and negates two-thirds of British Columbia's $30 carbon levy.
"These subsidies undermine the notion of a price on carbon, which is intended to give incentives to reduce our fossil-fuel use and move toward cleaner use of energy,'' said Dale Marshall of Environmental Defence, one of the groups involved in the study.
Still, some warn ending those benefits wouldn't reduce emissions much and would chase investment out of the country.
The report calculates the total cost of fossil-fuel subsidies at about $3.3 billion a year. Nearly $1.2 billion comes from favourable federal tax treatment of oil and gas exploration and development projects.
There's no reason for that, Marshall said. Research suggests many of current oil and gas reserves already mapped will have to be left in the ground if climate change is to be kept under two degrees of warming.
"We know from the science that the vast majority of the reserves that are already there can't be exploited.''
"Fighting climate change means managed decline in fossil-fuel sectors. There's no other way to reduce emissions.''
— Dale Marshall, Environmental Defence
The second-biggest subsidy comes from Alberta, which provides $1.1 billion through forgone revenues from royalty reductions. The rest comes from a mix of federal and provincial tax credits and other subsidies.
Marshall said governments should be working to gradually scale down the industry, not encourage its growth.
"Fighting climate change means managed decline in fossil-fuel sectors. There's no other way to reduce emissions.''
Speaking in Marrakech at a UN climate-change conference, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Ottawa will end subsidies by 2024.
"We will do it in an intelligent way,'' she told reporters. "We obviously have to work with the provinces. We've already had discussions and I've had discussions with the finance minister.''
But tax breaks for exploration and development are how governments share risk at the iffiest end of the industry, said Jon Stringham, economics manager for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Removing them would simply divert investment to other countries — many of which, such as a Donald-Trump-led United States, are less than keen to reduce carbon emissions.
"Any (carbon regulation) on the American side is going to hit the dustbin,'' said Stringham. "We're not going to see onerous regulations.
"You're going to see investment flow out of Canada into the U.S.''
Finding new reserves allows industry to focus on those that are least carbon intensive, Stringham added.
Mark Jaccard, an energy economics at Simon Fraser University, points out the federal tax benefit is designed to encourage the overall mining and resource development sector. Economists dispute the actual impact on greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
Some subsidy programs are for research, he said.
"Much of the R&D subsidies now are to find ways to produce oilsands with less emissions,'' he said in an email. "So (should we) eliminate that?''
It's more effective to keep raising the cost of carbon, said Jaccard.
"I see (subsidies) as a bit of a diversion.''
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Alberta plans loans to speed well reclamation

Legislation designed to speed up the management of orphaned wells and could create up to 1,650 jobs

Posted Jun. 1st, 2017 by Barb Glen
  • Orphaned wells pose a significant environmental risk for communities and the landowners who have inherited these impacts. | File photo
A loan to Alberta’s Orphan Well Association is being proposed by the Alberta government to assist in reclaiming about 152,000 abandoned or inactive oil and gas sites.
The government proposes to borrow $235 million for the loan and provide it to the OWA at a more favourable interest rate than it could access on its own.
Alberta Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd said May 18 that the legislation has been introduced and is designed to speed up the management of Alberta’s many orphaned wells.
The number of abandoned sites was exacerbated by the drastic economic downturn in the oil and gas industry that forced many energy companies out of business or into bankruptcy.
If the legislation passes, the province would finance the loan using $30 million from the federal budget, said a government news release. It would be repaid over 10 years from the orphan fund levy paid by the energy industry.
The plan is also expected to create up to 1,650 jobs in reclamation work over the next three years.
“By enabling this work to happen right away, we’re able to reduce the backlog of orphan wells throughout Alberta while maintaining our polluter-pay principle,” McCuaig-Boyd said in the release.
Energy site reclamation work involves removing equipment, sealing wells and ensuring safety for the public.
Abandoned sites have become a concern for many farmers, ranchers and other landowners. Many who are concerned about reclamation have deemed funding for the OWA to be inadequate. Its annual budget is $30 million and as of March it had 2,084 orphaned wells slated for closure.
Last year it closed 185 wells.
The government said the OWA budget will increase to $60 million in 2019-20, paid by industry levies.
Daryl Bennett, director of the Alberta Surface Rights Federation, which has many farmer and rancher members, said “polluter-pay” is definitely the way to proceed.
“Speeding up the reclamation process will benefit landowners by preventing contamination, removing obstructions to farming operations and improving the food safety of crops and animals,” said Bennett in the news release.
Nikki Way, analyst with the Pembina Institute, also applauded the move.
“Orphaned wells pose a significant environmental risk for communities and the landowners who have inherited these impacts with no responsible owner.”
Pembina is encouraged by this effort in parallel with the ongoing efforts to review and reform the existing inadequate rules in place to address root causes of this problem and ensure that liabilities for cleanup are not transferred to Albertans.”
The government said it plans to improve existing policies for managing old oil and gas wells.
  • Orphan: A well or facility confirmed not to have anyone responsible or able to deal with its closure and reclamation.
  • Inactive: A well or facility where activities have stopped due to technical or economic reasons. Some may be reopened and produce again.
  • Abandoned: A site permanently dismantled and left in a safe condition.
  • Remediation: The process of cleaning up a contaminated well site to meet specific soil and groundwater standards.
  • Reclamation: The process of replacing soil and re-establishing vegetation on a well site so it can support activities that it did before it was disturbed.

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