Why Do We Need a Strategy?

Autism is the most common neurodevelopmental disability in Canada, with 1 in 66 Canadians aged 5-17 being diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Autistic people and those that love them make up an estimated 500,000 individuals nationwide. Without appropriate supports that fit their needs, Autistic people and their families see drastically worse health, education, employment and quality of life outcomes. These effects ripple throughout their communities. We need to do better. Read More

We need a strategy that drives real action to make sure all Autistic people living in Canada and their families have full and equitable access to the resources they need across a lifespan where and when they need them. A National Autism Strategy should identify the full range of needs of Autistic people, their family, friends and those who support them, across Canada. We need a wide range of policymakers and community stakeholders working together to get positive results.

Why Now?

The autism community cannot afford to wait any longer. Families are being pushed to the breaking point. Autistic people living in Canada have a right to equal access to health care and education that meets their needs and to participate fully in society. In April 2019 (World Autism Awareness Month) we launched a revitalized campaign for a National Autism Strategy with a Blueprint for change. The Blueprint outlines areas for federal focus and is the foundation for the Roadmap to a National Autism Strategy, which outlines a potential timeline for the government to work together with Autistic people, their families, and those that support them in developing a Strategy. Read More

Leading up to the federal elections in fall 2019, CASDA called upon all federal parties to commit to a National Autism Strategy that delivers on the vision of this Blueprint. Since then, Prime Minister Trudeau announced on December 9th, 2019 his support of the development and implementation of a National Autism Strategy. 

What is the Vision of CASDA’s National Autism Strategy?

The Blueprint for a National Autism Strategy is broken down into six key principles and 3 key areas of focus:

The six key principles call for the strategy to be:

  • Co-designed with Autistic people: nothing about us without us.
  • Person-centred, reflecting needs over a spectrum and lifespan.
  • Inclusive of pan-Canadian stakeholders.
  • Include a separate co-designed Indigenous approach.
  • Culturally responsive and appropriate, especially for vulnerable populations living in Canada.
  • Reflective of different regional needs, especially northern, rural and remote communities.
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The three areas of focus are:

  1. Federal leadership to guide and encourage coordinated and collective change through pan-Canadian knowledge exchange and dissemination.
  2. Immediate federal leadership in areas in federal jurisdiction: • affordability and access; • information; • employment; • housing; and • research
  3. A federal cross-government approach to autism that ensures action is coordinated across ministries, agencies, policies and programs.

The Goal: An Impactful, Measurable, Sustainable National Autism Strategy 

With Election 44 on the horizon, CASDA once again is calling on all federal parties and candidates to, if elected, commit to the swift implementation of a National Autism Strategy (NAS), following the release of the final report on autism by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. CASDA is ready to work with the new government and mobilize experts from across the country to develop a robust NAS that ensures that all Autistic people living in Canada have full and equal access to the resources they require to achieve their full potential. This NAS should have a clear and meaningful vision considering the whole lifespan and spectrum of needs of Autistic people, with special considerations for vulnerable Autistic populations living in Canada. Read More

CASDA, Autistic people, families, friends and those that support them are ready to work with government to find innovative, transformation approaches to ensure the NAS is more than a collection of new or slightly enhanced program funding.