An Ottawa father accuses the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario of discrimination after discharging a boy from its autism intervention program.
The complaint, which will be heard at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in February 2014, originally named only Ontario's Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
But in an interim decision dated Aug. 16, the tribunal agreed to add CHEO as a respondent to the complaint.
The complainant applied to add CHEO as a respondent after the ministry wrote to him describing how CHEO provided the service and should be responsible for the discharge decision. The boy's father agreed to add CHEO to the complaint.
The child, named only as M.B. in the case, was diagnosed with severe autism and global development disability as a toddler.
The boy was eligible for and participated in CHEO's autism intervention program before he was discharged in March 2011. During that time, he received intensive behavioural intervention therapy.
The human rights complaint alleges M.B. was discharged because his global development disability "affected his ability to meet certain learning goals."
Global development disability, which the complainant prefers to call "mental retardation," includes common signs such as limited reasoning, poor social skills and judgment, communication difficulties and aggressive behaviour.
The complaint also alleges the discharge assessment had a "disparate impact" on the boy.
CHEO is the regional service provider for eastern Ontario's autism intervention program, which is funded by the ministry. The provincial government spends a total of about $186 million on all of its autism intervention programs each year.
CHEO and the boy's family declined to comment on the case.