September 12, 2023 (Toronto, Ontario) One Stop Talk/Parlons maintenant (OST/PM) is a new virtual and confidential counselling service rolling out across the province. It provides children and youth (aged 0-17 years) with immediate, low barrier access to free mental health support when needed. When a child or youth connects with One Stop Talk/Parlons maintenant through, or 1-855-416-8255, they will be connected to a professional clinician for a virtual or telephone session of brief therapy. OST/PM aims to fill the service gaps that leaves children and youth waiting and struggling to navigate a complex healthcare system while increasing the availability of in-the-moment intervention.

This innovative pan-provincial initiative, funded by the Ministry of Health, addresses key challenges within the child and youth mental health sector, a priority area in Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness. It also supports the government’s commitment to creating a more connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system, ensuring that Ontarians receive the right level of service at the right time and in the right place.

How does it work?

Through the participation of a network of agencies across the province, OST/PM-designated therapists will provide online or telephone counselling sessions for children, youth and parents/ caregivers (with their child). A child or youth can connect with a registered therapist (via phone or online) for a brief single therapy session, and there is no limit to the number of times they can contact OST/PM.

The virtual sessions usually focus on a single issue and support the individual through the co-development of an action plan with an OST/PM therapist. If additional or ongoing services are needed, an OST/PM Service Navigator is available to provide a warm hand off by sending a referral to more local services coordinating care closer to home.

OST/PM is available Monday to Friday from 12 PM to 8 PM (EST) and from 12 PM to 4 PM (EST) on Saturdays.

Connecting with OST/ PM will ensure that children and youth in Ontario:

OST/PM Quick Facts: 


We know that children and youth have the highest mental health needs of any demographic, which is why we are so proud to be partnering with organizations like Strides to deliver the One Stop Talk program. Making sure that young people who are struggling have low barrier access to mental health care is critical to their growth into happy and healthy adults. Through programs like One Stop Talk, our government is building a mental health care system that is modern, compassionate, evidence-based, and ensures that no one is left behind.

Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

One Stop Talk / Parlons maintenant provides children and youth with immediate access to mental health professionals in their moment of need, with no waitlists. Young people can choose their preferred virtual engagement method and session time. They receive free single therapy sessions as often as needed, with equitable access, including interpreter services in 200+ languages and ASL. This province-wide, responsive mental health service ensures timely help and seamless transfers to additional supports in the communities where they live as required.”

Kirsten Dougherty, CEO, ROCK Reach Out Centre for Kids
Co-Chair, One Stop Talk / Parlons maintenant

Strides Toronto is delighted to be the host site for One Stop Talk/Parlons maintenant (OST/PM).  We love collaborating with a growing number of sector partners to deliver this innovative service, where and when young people and parents need it.  In addition to providing high quality, on demand counselling service, OST/PM provides a pathway into the infant, child and youth mental health system, making it easier than ever before to access services.

Janet McCrimmon, President and CEO, Strides Toronto
Host Site, One Stop Talk / Parlons maintenant

Media inquiries, please contact:

One Stop Talk/Parlons maintenant
Nick Foglia
Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
Email: Telephone: 416.921.2678

July 18, 2023 (Toronto, ON) – Today, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) and East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, celebrated the grand opening of the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub.

The Youth Wellness Hub is a bright and welcoming 11,000-square-foot space that provides a variety of integrated walk-in services for youth aged 12 to 25, including mental health and substance use supports, employment and settlement services, trades training and social programs.

It is located in the heart of Thorncliffe Park at 45 Overlea Blvd. (inside East York Town Centre) and was designed in collaboration by and for local youth.

The Youth Wellness Hub supports youth and young adults in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park, two neighbourhoods that are home to some of the highest concentrations of individuals under the age of 25 in Toronto and where there is low access to mental health and substance use services despite high levels of need.

This is especially important because the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened mental health challenges – particularly for children and youth. A recent report from Toronto Public Health found that, in the first year of the pandemic, one in four youth experienced increased depressive symptoms. One in five experienced elevated anxiety, representing a 32% increase in experiences of worry and stress.

Hospital data showed emergency department visits related to self-harm among children and youth in Toronto increased from 467 visits in the 15 months before the pandemic to 606 visits in the 15 months after pandemic onset.

Diverse range of services available

Starting tomorrow (July 19), the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub offers a diverse range of in-person and online mental health, wellness and substance use services for individuals aged 12 to 25.

Youth and young adults are welcome to walk in Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They do not need a health card, family doctor or medical referral to access services.

Services include:

The Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub is also home to Trades Connect, a program that offers youth and young adults pathways to careers in construction trades, information technology and industrial transportation; and Food Collaborative, a food bank that provides local families with access to fresh produce, eggs, dairy products and culturally appropriate food. Both of these programs are operated by TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization.

The following ETHP member organizations work together to provide services at the Youth Wellness Hub:

More information about the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub is available at and

Navigating the world of autism services can be overwhelming for parents, caregivers, families and children. At Strides Toronto, we aim to make the entire process a little easier for everyone by providing comprehensive support options to families, caregivers and individuals with autism.

In this blog, we’ll introduce you to the history of Strides Toronto, briefly explain how we work with the Ontario Autism Program, and outline some of the programs and services we use to help our clients and their families achieve their best lives.

Who We Are

Strides Toronto, an amalgamation of the Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre and East Metro Youth Services, has been providing regional autism services for over 30 years. Located in east Toronto, we offer autism services for the East York and Scarborough communities.

Through our wide range of programs and services, Strides Toronto helps our clients and their families/caregivers achieve their personal best. Our work strengthens the social and emotional well-being of autistic individuals and their families, caregivers and support systems, helping everyone overcome adversity, develop their abilities and reach their full potential.

A graphic of Strides Toronto's mission, vision and values

The Ontario Autism Program (OAP) & Strides

At Strides Toronto, we are proud to be an approved service provider under the Ontario Autism Program (OAP). This government-funded initiative is designed to provide essential support for children and youth with autism.

To access the autism services offered by Strides Toronto, it is important to register for the OAP through AccessOAP. AccessOAP is the central hub that helps families connect with service providers like Strides Toronto.

Through the OAP, we offer a wide range of services tailored to meet the unique needs of each child, ensuring they receive the comprehensive care they deserve.

To learn more about OAP, please visit

Strides Programs & Services

Strides Toronto offers a wide range of programs and services for infant, children and youth with autism as well as their families, caregivers and other support people. Below are some examples of the programs and services we offer.

Core Clinical Services

Our Core Clinical Services is one of Strides Toronto’s varied streams of direct support. Core Clinical Services provides autistic children and youth with evidence-informed treatment and consultation based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Our individual and group-based ABA services are on the OAP’s approved treatment list, and our free and fee-based services are offered both in-person and virtually.

Learn more about this service on our dedicated Autism Core Clinical Services page

Urgent Response Services

Our Urgent Response Services offer timely care options for autistic children with specific risk-related needs, working to prevent risk escalation to self, others and/or property. Facilitated by an Urgent Response Service Coordinator, children and their families can receive up to 12 weeks of personalized services. Urgent Response Services may include short-term consultation with a child’s intervention team and respite services, among other services and support options. 

Learn more about this service on our dedicated Autism Core Clinical Services page

Entry to School Program 

Our Entry to School Program is a two-part program designed to support and assist children with autism and their families during the transition to school. The first part of Entry to School is a group-based skill-building program that helps children develop school-readiness skills. The second part of Entry to School offers individual transition support to the child entering school as well as consultation services for families and educators.

Please note that our Entry to School Program requires an invitation letter from the OAP.

Learn more about this program on our dedicated Entry to School Program page

Strides Resources

Alongside our various services and programs, Strides Toronto shares a number of resources for families and caregivers of children with autism.

Explore our list of Community Resources.
Explore our list of COVID-19 Resources.

How To Connect with Strides

Now that you know everything Strides Toronto has to offer, here’s how to get in touch with our team to access our autism programs and services.

As you and your autistic child work through new treatment plans, programs, and services, Strides Toronto is right by your side. We provide ongoing support and guidance to make sure you and your child have everything you need to thrive both individually and as a family.

For more information, you can reach out to Strides Toronto in one of three ways:

Note: We do not provide counselling services over email. Please do not include any personal health information when emailing Strides Toronto.

March 13, 2023 (Toronto, ON) – Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) and East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, have launched the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub.

The hub is a new, welcoming space that will provide easily accessible walk-in services for youth and young adults aged 12 to 25 living in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park. These services are low-barrier and offer clear service pathways related to mental health, substance use, primary care, employment, housing and other support services.

Virtual services launch at the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub today (March 13, 2023) and are accessible through Information about the site is also available at

Youth and young adults do not need a health card, family doctor or medical referral to access the services.

In-person services will launch this spring when construction is complete at the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub’s physical site at 45 Overlea Blvd – a bright, welcoming and accessible space in the heart of Thorncliffe Park that’s designed in collaboration with local youth and families to meet their needs.

Advancing health equity for youth and families
The Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub aims to support youth and young adults in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park, two neighbourhoods that are home to some of the highest concentrations of individuals under the age of 25 in Toronto.

These neighbourhoods are home to many newcomers, and carry significant stigma related to mental health and substance use. Here, young people have low access to mental health and substance use services despite high levels of need.

The Youth Wellness Hub will help advance health equity in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park, where many families face socioeconomic challenges, including unemployment and limited access to public services, and higher levels of marginalization, which may lead to poor health outcomes.

This new virtual support space and a future physical hub will help alleviate pressures across the health system, including in hospital emergency departments, by providing more accessibility to care, reducing wait times and connecting youth to a full range of services that are close to home.

Virtual services open to everyone aged 12 to 25
Virtual services are now available at the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub by appointment through

Appointments are open to everyone aged 12 to 25.

Virtual services include:

These services will also be available in-person when the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub’s physical space opens in spring 2023.

Additional services will be available with the opening of the physical site. These include primary care and sexual health services; psychiatric consultations; a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills group; food, housing and settlement supports; and drop-in, groups and special events.

Designed in collaboration with local youth
The Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub joins YWHO’s existing network of 22 hubs that serve over 30 communities across Ontario.

YWHO announced funding from the Government of Ontario for the Thorncliffe Park site in May 2022, along with seven other locations that will serve different communities in the province.

The Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub follows YWHO’s Integrated Youth Services (IYS) model of care, which aims to bring the right services to youth (and their families) at the right time and in the right place.

The following ETHP member organizations provide virtual services at the hub and support with youth outreach and engagement. They will also provide in-person services once the physical space launches.

Local youth contribute to the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub by advising on what programs are needed, how programs should be delivered, how youth should be engaged and more.

This helps ensure the site’s space and services are designed by and for youth.

About Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO)
Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) is a network of 22 local hubs that provide integrated services co-designed with youth for youth in communities across the province. Originally funded through philanthropy and by the Ontario government in 2017, YWHO was established to address gaps in the youth mental health system by providing integrated youth services for young people aged 12-25, addressing needs related to mental health, substance use, primary care, education, employment, housing, peer support, outreach, system navigation, and other community and social programming. Through a commitment to rapid and low-barrier access, early and evidence-based interventions, equitable and culturally effective services, and youth collaboration, YWHO is taking a critical step forward to improve Ontario’s youth mental health system. To learn more about Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario, visit or @YWHOntario on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP)
East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, is a group of more than 100 community, primary care, home care, hospital and social services organizations in East Toronto working together to create an integrated system of care across our communities. Collectively, ETHP is responsible for providing care and support to the 300,000 individuals who live in East Toronto communities, as well as an additional 75,000 clients who choose to receive health care in the local area. Clients, family members and caregivers are partners in every aspect of the development of ETHP, working together to improve the way East Toronto residents access and receive care. Visit to learn more.

February 22, 2023 (Toronto, ON) – At United Way Greater Toronto’s Local Leaders Celebration last night, CEO Daniele Zanotti alongside Community Campaign Chair Darryl White and hundreds of supporters announced that the organization will meet its $110 million goal. The generous support means that United Way Greater Toronto shared their bold plans for a $33 million re-investment in community. Sixty-five agencies delivering 208 programs across Peel, Toronto and York Region were awarded renewals of five-year flexible funding to fight growing local poverty.

Across Peel, Toronto and York, United Way Greater Toronto funds and partners with a balanced portfolio of poverty-fighting anchor agencies to meet needs where they are greatest, respond to changes in our community, and build lasting solutions to critical issues at the intersection of poverty, equity and geography.

Anchor funding is a unique-to-United-Way model that offers longer term flexible funding for programming and core operational support. As United Way recognizes the importance of supporting agency infrastructure, the funding builds long-term capacity within these organizations and delivers solutions to meaningfully move the needle on poverty issues in our region. Flexible funding also ensures that as community and resident needs evolve these agencies can negotiate a shift in funding priorities to quickly mobilize a solution, such as responding to an unexpected crisis like the pandemic, supporting refugees, or providing food and clothes.

This achievement ensures United Way Greater Toronto can also continue investments through the Community Program Grants and by making additional investments to Indigenous, Black and other structurally disadvantaged groups later this year. United Way will also continue to push solutions at the neighbourhood-level including the Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity (ILEO) Initiative, co-convened by BMO Financial Group.

Click here to read the full article.

The Ontario government is investing $4.75 million to expand the “One Stop Talk” virtual “walk-in” counselling program to connect children, youth and their families with more convenient and timely ways to access mental health counselling no matter where they live.

“Our government is making it easier and more convenient for children and youth in every corner of the province to access mental health care,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This program offers modern, convenient options for youth to connect to help in ways that they’re used to communicating.”

The “One Stop Talk” service offers convenient ways to talk to a clinician by phone, video conference, text and chat without an appointment. The program began as a pilot in November 2022 with six participating mental health organizations and is now being expanded to additional organizations and their waitlisted patients. When fully implemented, the program will eventually be available to all children, youth and their families.

Click here to read the full article.

On November 2, United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT) published the case study ‘What’s Up Walk-In Clinics’ strengthened network model: Moving along the collaboration’.

As part of UWGT’s research series on social service innovations during COVID-19, this report uncovers how What’s Up Walk-In Clinic and the agencies behind it worked together in a more collaborative and interdependent virtual model to meet the soaring demand for children and youth mental health services during the pandemic.

Click here to read the full case study.

According to the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, right now there are approximately 63,000 Canadian children living in permanent care with foster families, extended family, or in group homes. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of children and youth have been identified as having experienced or being at risk of experiencing abuse and neglect. These children often experience difficulties gaining access to adequate education opportunities, especially when it comes to post-secondary education. Very few youths in Canadian foster care go on to graduate with a post-secondary degree. One of the largest barriers to entry for children in foster care is the financial burden that comes along with post-secondary education.

In response to the growing number of foster children and youth in care that struggle to afford post-secondary studies, Storwell has developed the Storwell Foster Children Bursary Program. Along with providing accessible and affordable storage solutions across the GTA, Storwell is also devoted to helping out the local community through various charitable causes and social initiatives.

For over a decade, Storwell has helped numerous students across Canada achieve their educational goals. The aim of the Foster Children Bursary Program is to provide foster children with resources and opportunities that might be otherwise unavailable to them. With the proper tools, these students can work towards building a better life for themselves through the pursuit of higher education.

Storwell offers an annual bursary of $2,000 to help foster children attend post-secondary schools and to offer a hand up as they make their way forward in life. The bursary application deadline is September 1st. Eligibility requirements and access to the application form can be found at:

Today, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services announced changes to the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) that will add caregiver-mediated early years programs as a service pathway in the OAP. In a collaboration called the Toronto Autism Services Network, Strides Toronto and six other autism service agencies will deliver the provincially funded caregiver-mediated early years programs in Toronto.

The Toronto Autism Services Network will offer three caregiver-mediated early years programs to support families with children who are 12 months to 48 months at the start of the intervention: Project ImPACT (12-48 months), Social ABCs (12-42 months) and Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) (12-48 months). The programs will help young children develop core foundational skills in the areas of communication, socialization and play, and will provide parents/caregivers with specific strategies to support their child’s development.

The ministry will begin reaching out to families registered with the OAP in the coming weeks to let them know they are eligible for this program. Families can then contact the Toronto Autism Services Network ( to learn more about the registration process and programs that are offered.

The Toronto Autism Services Network includes seven agencies—Geneva Centre for Autism, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Kerry’s Place Autism Services, Lumenus Community Services, SAAAC Autism Centre, Strides Toronto, and Surrey Place—with decades of experience providing high-quality services to children with autism spectrum disorder and their families. The network’s supports are coordinated with other clinical services to create a comprehensive, wraparound support team that can make informed decisions to meet each family’s individual needs. With this shared vision of support, families with an autism diagnosis will benefit from a single access point to receive consistent, high-quality, family-centred autism services in Toronto.

For more information on the Toronto Autism Services Network and our caregiver-mediated early years programs, visit the network’s website.

The Government of Ontario has announced $31 million in annualized funding to support the delivery of province-wide virtual walk-in mental health counselling for children, youth and families. For the past five months, Strides Toronto, the Lead Agency for Infant Child and Youth Mental Health in Toronto, and Windsor’s Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) have been moving forward with launching a province-wide model to deliver virtual counselling services to children, youth and families.

The provincial program, planned to launch in 2021, will offer rapid access virtual walk-in counselling, plus an entry way into ongoing mental health services. “During the pandemic, children, youth and families responded favorably to connecting virtually with clinicians and mental health services. For many families—in particular, those living in remote and underserved regions of Ontario— virtual access to mental health services eliminates the burden of travel and wait times while enhancing service levels,” said Karen Ingebrigtson and Linda Dugas, co-chairs of the Child and Youth Mental Health Lead Agency Consortium representing the lead agencies from 33 service areas across Ontario.

Strides Toronto CEO Janet McCrimmon and HDGH President & CEO Janice Kaffer added, “The pandemic revealed the child and youth mental health sector’s ability to pivot quickly and to tailor our services to support virtual connections with youth and families. The children, youth and families we serve will benefit immeasurably from the availability of one-number, virtual access to mental health counselling —regardless of where they live in Ontario.”

The Province also announced a 5% increase in child and youth mental health funding. This funding is intended to address wait lists and wait times for child and youth mental health services.  Strides Toronto is looking forward to furthering these goals in rolling out this funding within our agency.