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History

The Honourable Jim Munson speaking at a podium.

Autism Alliance of Canada (formerly Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance) was formed in July 2007, shortly after the Senate Committee Report “Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis.” During this time, the federal government sent a clear message to the Autistic and autism communities: We need to work together with and speak with a unified voice. The community responded by forming Autism Alliance of Canada.

The founding members of Autism Alliance of Canada all believed that there was more the federal government could do for autism. Together, we could make this change happen. We agreed that this country needed a National Autism Strategy. Since then, the organization and membership has grown exponentially and continues to play an important role in guiding the development and implementation of a National Autism Strategy to create systemic change for Autistic people in Canada and their loved ones.

How we started and where we are now

2007

Autism Alliance of Canada (formerly Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance – CASDA) forms after the “Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis” Senate Report is released. The final recommendation was for a National Autism Strategy.

2008

Autism Alliance of Canada forms its mandate: To call for the development and implementation of a National Autism Strategy.

2013

Autism Alliance of Canada holds the first Canadian Autism Leadership Summit.

2014

The Government of Canada invests in Ready, Willing & Able (RWA), a national employment program, jointly sponsored by Inclusion Canada and Autism Alliance of Canada, designed to increase the labour force participation of job seekers with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum.

2019

Autism Alliance of Canada develops the Blueprint for a National Autism Strategy. This resource focuses on three components: (1)Pan-Canadian collaboration, (2) Immediate action on priority areas of jurisdictional responsibility (3) An integrated cross-departmental federal government approach.

2019

The Prime Minister announces that the development and implementation of a National Autism Strategy has been added to the mandate letters of the Ministers of Health and of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.

2020

Autism Alliance of Canada launches the Roadmap for a National Autism Strategy. This resource proposes a timeline for the government to work together with the autism community to develop and implement a robust National Autism Strategy.

2020

Autism Alliance of Canada publishes the 2020 Policy Compendium, developed by Autism Alliance of Canada-Kids Brain Health Network Policy Development Working Groups.

This Policy Compendium was developed to support the federal government in taking steps towards the development of a National Autism Strategy in the areas of:

  1. Research and Governance
  2. Affordability and Access
  3. Employment
  4. Housing
  5. Information
2021

Autism Alliance of Canada publishes the 2021 Policy Compendium, developed by Autism Alliance of Canada-Kids Brain Health Network Policy Development Working Groups.

This Policy Compendium built on the 2020 Policy Compendium to develop a collection of policy briefs aligned with the 3 areas of focus defined by the government:

1. Social inclusion
2. Diagnosis, supports, and services
3. Economic inclusion

2021

Bill S-203, “An Act respecting a federal framework on autism,” is introduced in the Senate of Canada.

The proposed legislation calls on the federal government to act on “Pay Now or Pay Later,” the Senate report published in 2007, by implementing a federal framework on autism, including measures such as financial supports and accountability in the use of federal funds, research and improved data collection, awareness campaigns and online resources.

2022

The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences publishes the report: Autism in Canada: Considerations for future public policy development.

This report was prepared for the Government of Canada in response to a request from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). It quotes a number of resources developed by Autism Alliance of Canada, namely the National Needs Assessment Survey (2014), the Language Guide (2020), the Roadmap for a National Autism Strategy (2020).

2022

Autism Alliance of Canada and its members appear as witnesses before the Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology to share their support and perspectives on Bill S-203, “An Act respecting a federal framework on autism.”

2023

Bill S-203, “An Act respecting a federal framework on autism,” receives Royal Assent on March 30, 2023.

This legislation outlines a commitment for the development of a federal framework designed to support Autistic Canadians, their families and support persons.

2023

The Government of Canada announces funding for the Autism Alliance of Canada to address gaps in knowledge about the needs and experiences of Autistic adults over the age of 30.

Findings from the Canadian Autistic Adult Needs Assessment will be used to inform future research and policy priorities, including the National Autism Strategy.

2023

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reached out to Autism Alliance of Canada, the Pacific Autism Family Network and Autism Speaks Canada to collaborate in outlining plans for a National Autism Network to help action the national strategy.