It was back on March 15th, 2020 when the Ministry elected to change their monthly “waitlist” numbers from something like this:
… to this:
A little different, right?
The old format proved useful, because you could calculate the number of kids in the old version of the program (the so-called “legacy kids”).
When doing that though, it showed a concerning trend: A steady decrease, month after month.
Here’s my version of the numbers, based on the data released up until the end of January:
The waitlist didn’t go away, and fewer and fewer kids had access to needs-based ABA therapy every month.
Not a good look.
So the ministry changed their numbers release format, only sharing the current month numbers. They also chose to report the number of funding invitations, but not the number of kids who were actually receiving support.
It made the new numbers they released fairly meaningless.
Then the FAO report came out on the OAP, and it confirmed a few assumptions of mine, so I got to thinking – Maybe there was a way to still calculate the number of legacy kids.
At the end of March 2020 (end of the fiscal year), we knew that there were ~39,600 kids registered in the OAP.
Here were the numbers that the FAO shared:
- 6400 in service under the old program
- 8100 received either a childhood budget (CB) or interim one-time funding (IOTF) cheque
- 19200 were sent an invite for funding, but hadn’t received a cheque yet
- 5900 waiting for an invite
To get a little more exact, we can look at the update the ministry posted on April 15th:
To get the useful information, you need to read between the lines. If you subtract all the kids that have been invited to apply for either a CB or IOTF:
39618 – 10434 – 16877 = 12307
This represents what I refer to as the “unaccounted for.”
It’s a combination of those waiting for a funding invite, and the kids still in service in the old program (legacy kids).
So for the end of March, if you subtract the 6400 legacy kids from the 12307 unaccounted for, you get 5907 waiting for an invite. This is going to be our starting point for an interesting ride.
Okay, so let’s think through this logically.
There are a few numbers we can calculate each month, by knowing what the previous month’s numbers were:
- The number of new registrations to the program
- The number of new funding invites
For example, if we want to see what happened in April 2020, we compare the posted numbers from May 15th (representing the situation at the end of the previous month) to the April 15th numbers.
New registrations: 40295 – 39618 = 677
New CB invites: 11105 – 10434 = 671
New IOTF invites: 19195 – 16877 = 2318
Here’s a compilation of all the ministry updates since the format change, including their uncorrected numbers from the mid July update (July 15th):
I’ve gone ahead and calculated the numbers we’ll need for the next step:
The calculation of legacy kids
Okay, so we know that 5907 kids were waiting for an invite at the end of March, and 677 new kids were registered in April (who are also now waiting for an invite). We also know that several thousand funding invites went out (671 CB, 2318 IOTF) — meaning those kids are no longer waiting for an invite.
So we can calculate how many kids are waiting for an invite at the end of April:
5907 previously waiting + 677 new registrations – 671 CB invites – 2318 IOTF invites = 3595 waiting for invites
Still with me?
The last step is to subtract this number from the “unaccounted for” from April, which was 9995, to get the number of legacy kids left at the end of April.
9995 – 3595 = 6400
The exact same number as the previous month.
“Huh,” I thought, as I calculated that the first time. “It’s the same.” (knowing that hundreds of kids had received an invite for a CB, meaning there should be hundreds of less legacy kids, so this already didn’t make sense).
Okay, let’s do the next month (end of May)
Unaccounted for: 6447
New registrations: 1026
New CB invites: 0
New IOTF invites: 4574
3595 previously waiting + 1026 – 0 – 4574 = 447 waiting for an invite
6447 unaccounted- 447 waiting = 6000 legacy kids
It was down by 400 this time, even though no CB invites went out, and was once again a nice even number.
Let’s do the next one (end of June)
Unaccounted for: 2519
New registrations: 846
New CB invites: 240
New IOTF invites: 4534
447 previously waiting + 846 – 240 – 4534 = -3481 waiting for an invite
There was somehow a very large negative number as the amount of kids waiting for a funding invite now. Impossible, yes, but here’s where it gets weird:
2519 unaccounted for – (-3481 waiting) = 6000 legacy kids
Exactly 6000. Again.
Now, this was the same month where the Ministry admitted they miscounted the IOTF invites, and “fixed” their numbers (after being called-out on twitter by Scott Corbett and I)
It apparently wasn’t 4534 they sent out. It was actually only 37.
It’s super easy to miscount by 4497. Honest mistake, I’m sure.
Ministry corrects OAP monthly numbers post … but can we trust their other numbers?
I’ve been keeping track of the monthly “waitlist” numbers pretty closely, and the updates over the last couple of…
Okay, now watch what happens with their corrected numbers:
Unaccounted for (fixed): 7016
New registrations (unchanged): 846
New CB invites (unchanged): 0
New IOTF invites (fixed): 37
447 previously waiting + 846 – 0 – 37 =1016 waiting for an invite
7016 unaccounted for – 1016 = 6000 legacy kids
Seeing a pattern yet?
Next up, the end of July.
Unaccounted for: 6330
New registrations: 863
New CB invites: 15
New IOTF invites: 1534
1016 previously waiting + 863 – 15 – 1534 = 330 waiting for an invite
6330 unaccounted for – 330 waiting = 6000 legacy kids
Oh hey, there’s that number again!
Last one (end of August).
Unaccounted for: 4729
New registrations: -593
New CB invites: 84
New IOTF invites: 924
330 previously waiting + (-593) – 84 – 924 = -1271 waiting for invites
4729 unaccounted for – (-1271) = 6000 legacy kids
Wouldn’t you know it? It’s 6000 again!
(The total number registered actually decreased this month for the first time, and was “explained” in the footnote to the latest update)
So if you put it all together, here’s a summary of all the latest updates, with the “unaccounted for” kids now … “accounted for”:
The calculations from the ministry numbers suggest that the amount of legacy kids has been exactly 6000 for each of the last 4 months.
There’s also multiple instances of them claiming to be sending out more invites than there were even kids waiting.
This doesn’t smell right.
There’s no way the legacy numbers are accurate here, which means that some part of the numbers the ministry are reporting have to be wrong. I don’t know which ones are wrong, but there’s definitely something fishy going on here.
How many actual legacy kids are there left?
How many funding invites have they actually sent out?
How many cheques have been cashed?
Can we trust ANY of the numbers they are giving us?
I say no.
I challenge the Ministry to explain what’s going on here, because I see no reason to believe anything they say anymore.