Application Deadline – January 31, 2020


The 2020 Canadian Autism Leadership Summit (CALS) is a place to share ideas and challenges that affect Canadians across the country. Building on what we have learned from previous Summits, the 2020 agenda will provide opportunities to Connect, Inform, Act and Sustain pan-Canadian linkages across policy, practice and research to develop and refine a National Autism Strategy.

We are seeking proposals that provide insight into the three Areas presented in the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA) Blueprint Proposal for the development of a National Autism Strategy below. Specifically we ask that proposals address one or more of the following:

  • Area 1: How to work together under federal/national leadership;
  • Area 2: How to continue to promote action in one or more of the five areas of need: Affordability and Access; Information Sharing; Employment; Housing; and Research; and
  • Area 3: How to create sustainable and effective cross-government and cross provincial/territorial connections

We want to have a variety of inspiring topics and ideas presented so a rich discussion can occur. Importantly, we want to be able to learn from each other and connect better across our vast country.

Who should consider submitting a proposal? (Note: these are only some suggestions)

  • Autistics, individuals on the spectrum or persons with lived experience who have ideas and/or specific experiences to share relating to one or more of the target Areas above.
  • Researchers, policy-makers, or organizations whose work relates to one or more of the target Areas above.
  • Organizations or individuals that have used the Blueprint for a National Autism Strategy to advocate for a specific policy change at the federal or provincial level.
  • Policy-makers, researchers, organizations, and/or individuals with examples of cross-governmental approaches aimed at improving outcomes for autistic Canadians.
  • Policy-makers, researchers, organizations, and/or individuals with examples of pan-Canadian linkages they have made across policy, practice and research.
  • Organizations that are able to share lessons learned about successful consultations with the broader autism and/or disability community.
  • Groups, researchers, and/or individuals that have made successful policy recommendations to the federal government.
  • The list goes on…

Ways to participate

There are many ways to participate in the Summit. We want the 2020 Summit to be non-traditional and inclusive so this year you will not see traditional panels we had in the past. In order to meet this goal, we’d love to know if you’d like to:

  • display a poster (posters may highlight research or organizations: poster guidelines and dimensions are found here)
  • share an IGNITE talk,
  • deliver a keynote address or workshop (very limited number)
  • provide brief remarks,
  • be a table host and facilitate table discussion,
  • submit a pre-recorded video (attendance at the summit is not required) or display a piece of graphic art or
  • let’s talk about a great idea you might have!

Again, presentations will focus on linking policy, practice, and research to each other in a way that connects into the National Autism Strategy. That means, topics should be relevant to others across the country.

You can apply as an individual or as a team.

Please note: In order to support active networking and information sharing, presenters are encouraged to attend both days of the Summit. Due to the Summit’s modest budget, presenters must register for the event. We are pleased to offer a special presenter rate of $150.

If you are an individual with lived experience and are selected to be a presenter, your registration will be waived. If you cannot attend the summit without financial support, a limited number of travel bursaries are available. Learn more about applying for a travel bursary here.

Questions? You can also send your questions to We will publish all questions anonymously and our answers on our website blog so everyone is well-informed (if you prefer not having your question made public, we will contact you directly with a response).


This is the evaluation rubric that the Selection Committee and Lived Experience Committee will use to choose presentations for the Summit. Applications will be blinded. Click here for the Call for Proposals Evaluation Rubric.


Note on Terminology: Autistic people, Canadians/individuals living with autism/ASD/an ASD, Canadians/individuals on the Spectrum/Autism Spectrum – in previous consultations across the country there was recognition that the use of language in the autism community continues to be an ongoing discussion. As our understanding and acceptance of autism advances, so does the use and understanding of phrases to describe or reference the condition. In the spirit of being respectful of language preferences, terms are used interchangeably.