A Gift to Establish the National Centre for Autism Collaboration (NCAC)

Ottawa, ON – On the first day of the 10th Annual Canadian Autism Leadership Summit, at the Parliamentary Reception, celebrating “Ten Years of the Canadian Autism Leadership Summit’s Dedication to the Rights for Autistic People in Canada,” The Joyce Family Foundation proudly announced a $5 million gift towards the creation of the National Centre for Autism Collaboration (NCAC). The Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, McMaster University, and the Sinneave Family Foundation have committed to collaboratively match this gift to elevate and accelerate the impact of evidence on the care and lives of Autistic people and their families across Canada. Spearheaded by the national leadership team at Autism Alliance of Canada, this collaboration will be an avenue to connect researchers to support national autism priorities identified by the community.

“The National Centre for Autism Collaboration will play an integral role in realizing the Alliance’s collective vision, ‘A Canada where Autistic people exercise their full rights and realize their full potential.’ The work led by the National Centre for Autism Collaboration will support our research-to-policy priorities and play an integral role in bringing communities and thought leaders together, through initiatives such as our Canadian Autism Leadership Summit,” said Rebekah Kintzinger, Co-chair of Autism Alliance of Canada’s Board. “We will significantly improve linkages between research, policy, and practice by optimizing how our network comes together to advance Canada’s National Autism Strategy.” 

The Joyce Family Foundation was created by Canadian entrepreneur Ronald V. Joyce (1930 – 2019) with the goal of providing access to education for children and youth with significant financial need. Through strategic philanthropic work, leadership, and innovative partnerships, the Joyce Family Foundation is dedicated to supporting the social, economic and emotional well-being of children and youth. The NCAC is set to launch in a new collaboration space that expands the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.

“On behalf of the Joyce Family Foundation, we look forward to seeing the advancements, innovation, and lasting legacy this new collaboration will bring to Hamilton and beyond,” said Maureen O’Neill, CEO of the Joyce Family Foundation. “The National Centre for Autism Collaboration will generate positive impacts across Canada, at both local and national levels.”

As an initiative of Autism Alliance of Canada, the NCAC will pursue four national priorities designed to amplify and accelerate the impactful work of the Alliance’s members across the country, while also establishing the Centre’s unique place in the autism landscape: 

1) A Data & Science Hub will support access to existing datasets for researchers, helping to address gaps in clinical research, policy, and service delivery across the country. 

2) A Knowledge & Evidence Synthesis Portal will catalyze projects aimed at gathering evidence that will inform best practices in autism service delivery and care based on the priorities set forth by the members of Autism Alliance of Canada. 

3) A Policy Collaborative will unite knowledge from the members of Autism Alliance of Canada, researchers, and the broader network, into convening spaces to inform leaders, policy- and decision-makers at all government levels with current evidence and best practices. 

4) A Training Collaborative will offer fellowships, internships and scholarships that provide pathways into autism-related work for promising scholars and clinicians.

“We are thrilled to be taking this critical step forward in autism collaboration,” said Dr. Stelios Georgiades, the director of the Offord Centre for Child Studies and co-director of the McMaster Autism Research Team (MacART). “We are grateful to the Joyce Family Foundation for this generous gift as we continue to work collaboratively with partners from across the country to support the futures of all Autistic people in Canada.”  

With the NCAC serving as a platform for collaboration, Autism Alliance of Canada looks forward to pooling Canada’s expertise to maximize the impact of the community’s contributions in national autism policy and practice. The Alliance will steward this generous gift and co-develop a path forward for the community to collaborate effectively, ensuring that the perspectives and needs of Autistic people in Canada are at the forefront of our collective efforts.