Maggie’s Funding Is a Disaster

The Ontario government has given Maggie an ultimatum: the disabled teen can lose her funding or her independence — or give up one without the other.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” said Maggie, 16, from Newmarket, Que. “I need help. I feel like I have no control over my life.”

Maggie has severe cerebral palsy, an autism spectrum disorder and is legally blind.

Although the provincial Ministry of Community and Social Services, which funds Maggie, says it does not accept applications for funding from families who are concerned about the child’s level of disability, the ministry recently accepted Maggie’s application. She was to remain in Newmarket with her grandparents until the next application is made — in March 2010.

If she cannot find funding, Maggie will lose her full-time teaching position and independence — including the ability to work on her own — over the next two to four years.

“It is extremely difficult,” said her mother, Mary, from Maple Ridge, Alta. “We know the school has been looking for a permanent substitute. They have had no luck. It’s heartbreaking.”

Maggie will be forced to choose one of two options. Once her funding runs out, she will have to give up full time job and leave her mother’s side.

“To be stuck at home without any source of income is devastating,” said Mary. “Without the help, I’m not sure how she can live. I can’t even pay my heating bills.”

Mary, like much of the community, accepts the government rationale that Maggie is not eligible for funding.

“What do we have to say to the mother who cannot understand this decision?” asked one parent in Newmarket.

The school is appealing the decision, but as a parent, I would not be surprised if they didn’t appeal it, especially if they lose Maggie’s funding and lose her independence.

The issue is not new. In 2008

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