This week, on October 5th and 6th, our nation’s autism community has come together for the Canadian Autism Leadership Summit, hosted by the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA), which will help kick-off Autism Awareness Month in October.

Over 250 attendees representing 100+ autism research, education, health and community organizations – from coast to coast to coast – are joining forces with Autistic Canadians and their families to share their stories and learn from each other.

Today, we are incredibly pleased to receive confirmation from the Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, that the Government of Canada will uphold their promise to develop and execute a National Autism Strategy.

In video remarks sent to CASDA to help open the Leadership Summit, Minister Hajdu stated:
“The Prime Minister has entrusted me to work with provinces, territories, families, stakeholders and those with lived experience towards the creation of a National Autism Strategy. I’m happy to say work is underway on a comprehensive engagement process focused on the themes of social inclusion and evidence-based interventions and economic inclusion.”

Autistic Canadians, their families and caregivers and advocates across the country are exhausted. The torch representing the ongoing movement towards greater acceptance, supports and recognition for the needs of Canadians on the Autism Spectrum has been passed from one generation to another, and each generation has somehow found the strength, resilience and fortitude to keep the torch alight with hope for a better tomorrow.

For this reason, and many more, we welcome the Government of Canada’s confirmation that they will proceed with a National Autism Strategy. It is time for us to build a model of care that provides evidence-based resources and supports for Autistic Canadians and their families, no matter where they live in this country.