Why do we need the Canadian Autism Partnership?

Across Canada, provinces and territories are working tirelessly to find solutions to the complex issues pertaining to Autism, but currently operate in isolation from their peers across the county. As a result, the services and resources are inconsistent, and many Autistic individuals – along with their families and caregivers – are facing significant challenges and often insurmountable barriers.

In developing a business plan for a Canadian Autism Partnership model, the project team – led by a working group of experts within the Autism field and an advisory group represented by seven Autistic self-advocates from across Canada – received input from over 5,000 Canadians through in-person community roundtables, in-person meetings with 101 government representatives from all 13 provinces and territories and a national survey.

How would the Partnership model work?

As outlined in the graphic above, the Canadian Autism Partnership is designed to build horizontal collaboration, problem solving and collective action. A CAP model would:

  • Develop a platform for multi-sectoral collaboration to drive systemic change.
  • Facilitate opportunities for collective-thinking, collaboration and pooling of resources across multiple sectors and all levels of government creating the potential for more effective solutions than any one organization or government
    could accomplish independently.
  • Ensure the ability to influence the research agenda in Canada and accelerate the time from research to implementation.
  • Build capacity and enhanced support in communities through knowledge exchange, education and skills development.
  • Increase the capacity of northern and remote communities by providing a hub for shared information, policy, research and partnership with more well resourced parts of the country.
  • Provide access to accurate, evidence-based and timely information to support informed decision-making and policy development around multifaceted issues across the lifespan.
  • Allow for potential cost savings and efficiencies.
  • Learn from others, across the country and internationally, to avoid “reinventing the wheel”.

What are CAP’s priorities?

Canadians identified a range of pressing concerns that have been consolidated into the following five broad categories, which reflect the complex, systemic issues facing Canadians with ASD:

  • Early identification and early intervention;
  • Employment;
  • Interventions and services to optimize quality of life at all ages;
  • Specialized medical care, including access to dental and mental health services; and
  • Education, including transitions to work, post-secondary education and independent life.

Engagement with Indigenous Peoples, and Canadians in Northern and remote communities across the country, is integral to the model’s success. An effective means of engagement will require a very different and separate approach
informed by these constituents.