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Future of Camp Kaleidoscope - and Your Access to This Support!

If you have had an opportunity to read the September Children at Risk Newsletter – you will note my ED’s Message is a grim assessment of the impact the proposed 23% increase in the Ontario minimum wage will have on the Supports provided by Children at Risk – up to $15/hourly by January 1, 2019 (with the interim jump from $11.60 on October 1, 2017 to $14 on January 1, 2018).

I have included the text from the Newsletter below in hopes that our Community and its Supporters can take time to contact your MPP to express your concerns.

I will also send an additional email tomorrow night sent to CAR by the Orleans Chamber of Commerce with in-depth analysis of this Impact. (limited as to how many emails I can send each day…)

I have attached a Letter that can be adapted by any Members and Supporters (it is on Children at Risk letterhead – or you can remove that if desired) – as well a File of Parent Testimonials about Camp K.

It is URGENT that your Member of Provincial Parliament know how a decision like this will affect a critically-important service to Families raising a child with Autism! The very Future of Camp K and other supports like this will be in jeopardy with this immediate and exorbitant expense – with struggles for both Families to afford increased Camp Fees and the Charity to raise increased funds to compensate!!


  1. Staffing costs alone for just Camp Kaleidoscope are projected to increase a minimum of $60,000 for the summer of 2018 if this minimum wage increase is passed.
  2. The increased costs to Camp will not just be staffing – all Expenses and Venue costs are expected to rise due to the increased costs to our Suppliers.
  3. An economic impact analysis of Bill 148 by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis' (CANCEA) is suggesting a 5-Year phase-in of a wage increase, instead of a huge jump from $11.60 to $14 in just 3 months, then an additional jump to $15 one year later (more info on this with the 2nd email tomorrow)
  4. Camp Fees for Families will have to increase astronomically – we just produced a Budget for funding requests that increase a weekly Camp Fee from $425 to $500 – but this will only make up about $25,000 of the $60,000 full cost – in hopes we will be able to raise the difference in Fundraising and Donations. However, with the challenges we had this year, we anticipate that Fees will have to be even higher – which essentially will make Camp K inaccessible for many Families – as we anticipate that Grants to Families through agencies like SSAH, Service Coordination, Coordinated Access and more will NOT increase their funding to compensate for an increased cost for Camp?! So this point also has to be made to the Government…

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE (from September 2017 CAR Newsletter)

Fall is usually full of Beginnings – beginning the School year, beginning extra-curricular Programs, beginning Placements and returning to Work, beginning the count-down to the New Year…many things we look forward to as we return to schedules and routines.

However, THIS FALL – I am terrified of a proposed Provincial Government Bill that will increase the Minimum Wage from $11.60 hourly to $14 for January 1, 2018 – and another increase to $15 for January 1, 2018.

To put it plain and simple – this 23% increase from the current minimum hourly wage of $11.40 may facilitate an ENDING to supports provided by Children at Risk for Respite and Camp Sessions for MANY families!!

For the Supports provided by Children at Risk – our Staffing for these Programs is our greatest resource – and our greatest expense. We acknowledge the skills and expertise that all Counsellors bring to our Programs – and compensate as best we can – but this immediate and astronomical increase is a huge mountain to climb in finding Funding.

With already Challenges faced by our Charity in Fundraising and procuring Donations – we have calculated a minimum of a $60,000 increase in Staffing Costs for Camp Kaleidoscope alone – not to mention our Saturday Fun Club Respite Sessions, March Break Camp and Social Skill Therapy Groups.

While Children at Risk remains committed to raise and solicit Funds to offset costs for Families for our Programs – this additional expense will most likely necessitate the increase in Fees – to the extent that it most likely will prohibit some Families from being able to afford the Supports!

We need the Provincial Government, the Public, the Press – all to know how this will impact Charities like Children at Risk – and ultimately YOU, our children and families. Please – help us to contact your local MPP’s to express your concerns over this Proposal! I have provided Names and Emails below – and we suggest letting ALL of them know the effect this will have for your ASD child, your family if they cannot access these critically-important Supports with the increased costs that will result in the passing of this Bill!!

DO NOT delay – DO IT today!!

Brenda Reisch, Executive Director

Nathalie Des Rosiers, MPP Ottawa-Vanier

Marie-France Lalonde, MPP Ottawa-Orleans

Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre

John Fraser, MPP Ottawa South

Lisa MacLeod, MPP Nepean-Carleton

Bob Chiarelli, MPP Ottawa West-Nepean

Jack MacLaren, MPP Carleton—Mississippi Mills (note this was incorrect in the Newsletter)

Grant Crack, MPP Glengarry—Prescott—Russell

Randy Hillier, MPP Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington



The following from a "West Ottawa Board of Trade" article

Bill 148: Economic Analysis

Extending Minimum Wage Implementation Will Slash Job Loss Risk by 74%

Final analysis of Bill 148 reveals $12 billion economic problem that the Ontario Government must resolve

The West Ottawa Board of Trade, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Keep Ontario Working (KOW) Coalition released two major reports that broadly capture the challenges associated with Bill 148 and the concerns of the employer community. The first report is the final economic impact analysis of Bill 148 by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis' (CANCEA), which was peer-reviewed by Professor Morley Gunderson of the University of Toronto.

CANCEA's analysis reveals that if Government were to do nothing other than implement the minimum wage increase over five years instead of in the next 15 months, jobs at risk would decrease by 74 per cent in the first two years.

The analysis also indicates that while the proposed changes will see $11 billion in wage stimulus flow into the economy in the next two years, a remaining $12 billion problem exists which will lead to jobs lost, added costs, and general damage to the Ontario economy.

"Today's final report by CANCEA is clear, while the Government is correct to say that there will be a stimulus from Bill 148, it does not cover the $23 billion cost challenge for business in the first two years - a substantial amount that poses great risk to our economy and cannot be resolved through offsets alone," said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "More must be done. The Ontario Government must resolve the economic challenges presented in Bill 148 through a combination of slowing down the implementation period, amending the legislation, and offsets. Business and Government must work together to avoid unintended consequences and protect our most vulnerable."

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition and CANCEA released interim findings of this Analysis in August, ahead of final amendments being submitted for first reading of the legislation. To date, CANCEA's work remains the only peer-reviewed economic analysis of Bill 148. In having been reviewed by Morley Gunderson, the work has benefited from one of the leading economists in Canada, who the Ontario Government has turned to on multiple occasions, such as during the Changing Workplaces Review which became the foundation for Bill 148.

"Our risk assessment of the Act is that there is more risk than reward for Ontarians despite the stated goal of the legislation in helping Ontario's more vulnerable and the Ontario economy," Paul Smetanin, President of CANCEA. "Given the risk of consolidating income and wealth inequality, putting about 185,000 people out of work, and the risks of small/medium businesses being exposed to their larger competitors, the unintended consequences are significant."

In addition, the Keep Ontario Working coalition released a second report, The Flip Side of "Fair",which showcases testimonials from employers and outline how they will be impacted by the legislation. The report gives a voice to those businesses who have felt excluded from the committee process and policy discussion around this legislation. The testimonials all share a common theme, that the minimum wage increase and labour reforms will have serious consequences for their business and their communities.

"This Bill is forcing businesses to automate where possible, reduce labour/staffing, absorb part of the costs, and pass along a price increase to the customers (consumers) where possible. ...The very people that you are purporting to help are the ones who are going to be hurt the most. This will be the inexperienced and/or unskilled in Ontario. As these jobs disappear, they will be pushed onto social assistance... and will remain in poverty." ~Guenther Huettlin, President and Owner at GH Manufacturing, Belleville, Ontario

The KOW Coalition will continue to advocate that the government:

  1. Consider the risks outlined in this economic impact analysis while also conducting their own analysis;
  2. Implement broad amendments to Bill 148; and,
  3. Slow down implementation to avoid unintended consequences and protect Ontario's jobs, communities and our most vulnerable.

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario. For more information please

Read CANCEA's Final Economic Analysis

Read the Flip Side of "Fair"