We are at a crisis moment in Canada. Autism Speaks, an organization that is broadly condemned by autistic people, is poised to be in control of much of Canada’s autism policy. This includes funding for health, housing, police education, and social services. They are doing this through a proposed national policy initiative called the National Autism Strategy.
Instead, we want government to include autistic people within its broader disability policies. This is crucial to our human rights.
Please Take Action: See “Act Now” at the bottom of this page.
10 Fast Facts
Autism Speaks is acting with and through two Canadian non-profits that it funds, CASDA and the Pacific Family Autism Network, to create the “National Autism Strategy.”
- The Vice Chair of the Executive Board for CASDA is also the President of Autism Speaks Canada.
- Autism Speaks is a Capital Lead Partner at PAFN and a Collaborator of CASDA.
- The 3 groups are working with a handful of MPs to establish dominance in autism funding decision-making.
- They are deciding the future of autistic Canadians while excluding our national advocacy groups from the discussion.
- Decisions are being made with little to no study of best practices elsewhere or meaningful consultation.
- There is no oversight for effectiveness of money spent on of existing plans, despite hundreds of millions being spent.
- 80% of federal housing dollars in the autistic & I/DD sector go towards segregated housing.
- In some provinces, 90% of all “autism funding” goes to ABA.
- There are no meaningful federal jobs programs or workplace accessibility measures for autistic Canadians.
- Our suicide rate is 12x higher than non-autistic people. This is because we are living segregated lives, most of us in poverty, with no federal acknowledgement of our communication and access rights.
Our lives are in the balance
Already, the Government has given $10 million to PAFN and the Miriam Foundation to make a website that will contain advertisements for segregated service (IBI/ABA) providers and for Autism Speaks and its partners. This is taxpayer-funded advertising for services (ABA) that the global autistic community has stated clearly cause us collective harm!
As well, there is no public record of any bidding process for this or other contracts. We asked the Public Health Agency of Canada to share records that should be on public reference pages (but are not) and they have been ignoring our requests for 10 months. Our Access to Information Act requests have been stalled in the queue for months.
If our government integrates autistic people into existing disability policy, we have the opportunity to be directly consulted (per federal mandates) to build programs for school, employment, assistance, services and the access equality we deserve as Canadians. We would also be able to make access claims, something we cannot do now when we are denied access in any aspect of public life.
Government of Canada: Autistic/IDD people are NOT objects of your “strategy”. Autistic-led groups must be the central voice and architects of a new policy paradigm that draws on best practices for access, inclusion and equity!
Our groups are already advising provincial governments, institutions of higher education, provincial employment agencies and hospitals. Likewise we can and should lead in the federal policy discussion on school inclusion, independent housing, employment, communication rights and other access matters. Canada’s federal government needs to end the shameful practice of “strategizing” about us and instead meaningfully involve our national self-advocacy groups in disability policy.
Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure your voice is heard and that the fundamental rights of autistics in Canada are protected.
Please sign our petition and send a letter/email
If you have access to send a letter in the mail please do that, as they will get read faster.
- Sign our Petition Here
- Send Letters
Write to disability organizations in your area
Sample Letter: Letter_Disability_Rights_Autistics
Other Resources to share on social media
Fact Sheet on Autism Speaks: Why We Oppose Autism Speaks