ONTARIO MOVES TO REGULATE PRACTITIONERS OF
APPLIED BEHAVIOUR ANALYSIS (ABA)
Today the Minister of Children and Youth Services (MCYS), Michael Coteau, announced sweeping
changes to the Ontario Autism Program including a single point of access for entry to services, clinical
decision making based on individualized assessment, increased involvement of parents in the decision
making process, the removal of eligibility criteria based on age or symptom severity, and an intent to
regulate practitioners of applied behavior analysis (behaviour analysts) in Ontario.
For more than 20 years, the Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis (ONTABA) has prioritized the
protection of Ontarios most vulnerable citizens by advocating for public regulation of the profession
and for government investment and oversight of behaviour analytic services that are ethical, equitable,
Statements from Louis Busch, President, Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis:
With todays announcement, the Minister of Children and Youth Services has taken the first step
towards an Ontario Autism Program that puts individuals and families first by ensuring that clinical
decisions are based first-and- foremost, on each individuals unique needs.
Behaviour analysts help individuals of all ages affected by developmental disabilities, dual diagnoses,
dementia, acquired brain injuries, autism spectrum disorders, and mental health issues by teaching skills
that reduce the risk of harm, promote independence, and contribute to outcomes that are meaningful to
each unique individual, their family and to society.
A commitment to pursuing public regulation of behaviour analysts, with the necessary interim
protections, helps ensure that high-quality behavioural services will be provided by appropriately
qualified behaviour analytic professionals.
Ontarios behaviour analysts are optimistic about the impact this announcement could have on the lives
of vulnerable individuals receiving behaviour analytic services across the lifespan and across multiple
As behaviour analytic services are relevant to thousands of families across the province with services
funded across several ministries (MCYS, MCSS, MoE, MoHLTC), Minister Coteau has initiated a
collaborative process with Dr. Eric Hoskins the Minister of Health and Long-term Care and the Health
Professionals Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) to determine the best route for regulation of the
-Behavioural services account for an estimated $1 billion in government investments in Ontario.
-Behaviour analysts are regulated in approximately 30 jurisdictions in North America, but not in Ontario;
although Ontario has one of the highest concentrations of practising behaviour analysts worldwide.
-In 2014, MCYS commissioned a comprehensive multi-year study which strongly recommended public
protection through the public regulation of behaviour analysts. Read the report and its
-Research studies have demonstrated that behaviour analytic interventions can lead to significant long-
term cost savings for families and funders (e.g. comprehensive behavioural interventions for individuals
with autism spectrum disorders can save up to $1.6 million per individual over their lifespan).
-In April 2017, ONTABAs Expert Task Force produced a comprehensive research report with
recommendations for the Ontario Autism Program including recommendations on clinical oversight and
regulation. Read the report here
-Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) consists of the application of behavioural principles to make
meaningful differences in peoples lives. ABA can be applied to a wide range of human challenges and is
not limited to any particular diagnoses or age group.
-Behaviour analysts work in a wide variety of settings such as schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities,
treatment and rehabilitation centres, and in family homes.
-Behaviour analysts help individuals build skills that promote safety and independence, including
individuals living with developmental disabilities, dual diagnoses, autism spectrum disorders, dementia
and the cognitive decline associated with aging, mental health issues, and acquired brain injuries.
-Behaviour analysts also help typically developing learners, support classroom management, and use
organizational behaviour management to maximize the performance of human service organizations.
Contacts for Interviews:
Louis Busch, ONTABA President, 647-300-7625
Nancy Marchese, Ontario Scientific Expert Task Force Member, 416-889-7572
Dr. Kendra Thomson, ONTABA Professional Regulation Committee