Our Report to the Government of Canada: Introduction

We are blogging our Report and Recommendations to the Government of Canada, by section. Below is our introduction to the report.

Full report: A4A National Policy Report & Recommendations, 2019

Our National Mandate:  End the systematic segregation of autistic people in Canada. Inclusion and dignity for all.

About Us
Autistics for Autistics is a Canadian autistic led-and-run self-advocacy group. We have experience in advising on policy provincially, with white papers that apply provincially and federally. We also engage in community education and outreach projects and host events for autistics, families & friends through our chapters in Ontario and New Brunswick.

We are an international affiliate of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), a provincial member of the Autistic Advocacy Coalition of Canada, and part of the broader disability rights movement internationally.

About Autistic Self-Advocacy
Autistic self-advocacy can be summed up in the phrase nothing about us without us. Like the rest of the disability rights movement, we reject the segregation and barriers that still exists in schools, employment, housing and public life.

The autistic self-advocacy movement is based on a few facts:

  • We will always be autistic.
  • We want to like and feel good about ourselves, not be told we’re broken, toxic and wrong.
  • With simple accommodations, we can be included in school, work and all society.

About the Report
Autistic people in Canada are living with an unmitigated crisis of poverty and disadvantage.

We face high rates of unemployment, precarious housing, and homelessness.

Many of us do not receive health care and other services because of communication access barriers.

We often face exclusions, stigma and abuse in schools.

Our suicide rates are nearly 9 times that of non-autistic people.

These are all major social problems and it isn’t “living with autism” that causes them. In large part, these crises are directly caused by Canadian social institutions’ lacking the awareness or political will to break out of a pathologizing, segregationist approach to autistic and intellectually disabled (IDD)  people.

When a disability is accepted and accommodated, the disabled population fares better in life and the entire society is lifted in the process. Autistic/IDD people deserve that chance in Canada. Canada deserves that chance. That is why we advocate a National Disability Strategy that would include autistics across policy portfolios, together with other disabilities, rather than the current mandate, which is to silo autism services in the Health Ministry.

In this paper, we outline the problems that need solving, as well as specific policy solutions around communication and accessibility in the areas of: early childhood; education; housing; employment; health care access; and community/social education. We also identify the broader policy project of moving from a segregation model for autistic/IDD services towards one of inclusion.