Families of those with autism in Sudbury had the opportunity to bring their stories right to the provincial government on Thursday night.

Todd Smith, the new Minister of Children, Community and Social Services made a stop in the Nickel City as part of a tour of northern Ontario. Earlier in the week, he also made stops in Kenora and Thunder Bay.

The visits come shortly after the provincial government announced it was reversing its decisions on revamping the autism program after months of protests. The minister says the new program won’t be in place until spring of 2020.

“What we did is extended the current programs up until that point but what we’re hoping to do and what the autism panel is going to be doing is reporting back to me with their recommendations by the end of the summer. Later this fall we’ll announce what the new autism Ontario program looks like, a truly needs based program and then we’ll begin implementing that new program,” said Smith.

Tara Raso has a child with autism.

“In November, she was going to have no more therapy funded by the government; it was going to come all out of pocket with us. So, it would have been a huge strain on my family, but now she’s going to May now, for another six month extension, so we’re super happy about that and I’m hoping when this new OAP (Ontario Autism Program) comes through in April 2020, Olivia will as well just keep moving forward,” said Raso.

The minister is expected to continue his tour through the province over the coming weeks.