Balanced budgets are an important foundation to Canada’s long-term financial health, and working towards them is an important objective for this and future federal budgets. At the same time, CASLPA believes that every tax dollar spent by government is an investment which, when targeted properly, pays long-term dividends. It is thus important that efforts to reduce spending to balance the federal budget not come at the expense of programs that are essential to Canada’s social safety network. Such investments in Canadians must be spent wisely, and their effect must reach as far as possible. But, by spending smarter, government can achieve larger social goals without increasing financial obligations. Indeed, in some cases, smart spending saves the government money in the long run.

This submission addresses an area of health policy – the early identification of speech, language and hearing disorders in infants and children. Studies universally find that the earlier these disorders are identified and treated, the better the longterm outcome for the affected children and their families. There are also significant cost advantages for the healthcare, education and social/justice systems in identifying and acting on these problems before the impact becomes severe.

This submission makes the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1: CASLPA recommends that Budget 2012 include a national program that ensures universal access to newborn hearing screening.

Recommendation 2: CASLPA recommends that Budget 2012 include programs to facilitate the early identification and intervention of speech-language and hearing disorders in young children.

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