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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the application procedure?

All applicants must submit a full application that will be ranked based on the review criteria provided. All applications will be reviewed by a community panel with representation across the country including self advocates, caregivers, researchers and professionals working in the field of autism. Applications that are incomplete or do not include all required information will be considered ineligible and withdrawn from the competition. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all required elements of the application are submitted on time. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Who is eligible?

Lead organization must have charitable status in Canada. If you are collaborating with another agency, all partner organizations must show an active role and responsibility in program creation, implementation and/or evaluation. Letters of Support outlining involvement and contributions from partner organizations must be submitted with your application. The project must be evidence informed.

What is the application evaluated on?

  • Strength of implementation team
  • Strength of the proposal in addressing mental health and/or social engagement for identified community
  • Impact statement and feasibility of achieving the expected outcomes within the funding period
  • Evidence to support the likelihood of positive outcomes for the program
  • Strength of evaluation of the project (outcomes and impact)
  • Sustainability plan beyond the funding period
  • Budget is detailed and appropriate to the ask

*Special consideration will be given to projects that address underserved populations (e.g., indigenous peoples, rural & remote communities, adults & seniors, LGBQT+) and projects that engage individuals with lived experience in the design, implementation and/or evaluation process*.

The successful applicants will be notified of the results of the competition by no later than December 30, 2021.

Who can qualify as a partner on the application?

Partnering organizations can include service providers, researchers, educational institutions, ministries and municipalities, professionals, healthcare institutions, community organizations and corporations.

What do you mean by “social engagement”?

We define social engagement as any opportunity that allows autistic individuals to connect with and participate in their community. This can include recreational programming, skill building programs (e.g. employment, special interests, financial literacy, art), programs or services that have a social focus, and programs that are run in a group format that promote social inclusion.

What is the difference between innovation and replication projects?

An innovation project addresses new and unique service delivery solutions or tools. This would be a program, service or tool that is not currently available but there is promising evidence to suggest that it would be beneficial for the autistic community. A replication project addresses the expansion of evidence-based programs. Instead of creating something new and unique, you can reproduce successful, well established programs or services to expand their reach. This includes expansion to a new geographical community or population, program adoption from another service agency, and hub & spoke model. Replication projects can be adapted to better suit the unique needs of a new community. Please note that some programs prohibit replication and are subject to copy rights and fines.

I only need $5,000 to fund my small project, can I still apply?

Yes. We fund small and large projects up to a maximum of $40,000 per recipient.

My organization has received a Family Services Community Grant in the past, can we still apply?

Yes. If your project would benefit the mental health and/or social engagement of autistic Canadians and you meet the eligibility criteria, we encourage you to apply.

What if I run into unforeseen circumstances and am unable to finish my project in one year?

2020 has taught us that despite our best intentions life can present us with unexpected barriers. We will work with grantees on an individual basis to problem solve barriers and fulfill the grant agreement.

What types of projects have you funded in the past?

We have funded 184 projects since 2010. You can view summaries of past grant recipients here: or use the grant portal and refine your search to “Community Grants” (award type) in Canada.

How many grants will you fund this year?

We will award approximately $400,000 in 2021. The number of successful grants will depend on the types of proposals and the requested dollar amounts.

If my application is denied, will you be able to provide feedback on my submission?

Due to the large volume of applicants we do not have the capacity to provide feedback on individual applications.

I am having trouble applying for a grant on your portal. Do you have a step-by-step guide on the application process?

We do have a “How to Apply” guide for new Survey Monkey Apply users and for returning users as well. Let’s make sure that you are set up as an organization and can apply for a Community Grant. If you need further support, please reach out to us and we will help you troubleshoot.

Have you already started an application but have trouble finding it after logging back in?

When you log into the grant portal it will automatically take you to your individual applicant homepage. To continue your application, you will need to go into your account as an organization. It's a simple step of going to the top left of your screen and selecting your name, a drop down will appear with your organization. Then, select your organization name and your application should appear on your home screen right where you left off.

Estate & Tax-Smart Giving

Gifts from your estate can help fund much needed research and services providers through Autism Speaks Canada. They can also offer significant tax benefits for you and your family while supporting the cause you care about.

If you need more information on any of the following estate and tax-smart giving methods, please contact

John Branton
[email protected]
416-362-6227 ext. 204
1-888-362-6227 ext. 204

Bequest in your Will

Once you have taken care of your family and loved ones, we hope that you will consider naming Autism Speaks Canada a beneficiary in your Will. However long it is before we receive your gift, you can trust us to put your donation to work.

Gift of Life Insurance

A Gift of Life Insurance allows you to make a generous Legacy Gift to Autism Speaks Canada, with only minimal outlay of current savings or income. Donors often struggle between their desire to leave a gift to charity and their need to preserve their estate for their families. A gift of life insurance can resolve this conflict.

RRSP, RRIFS and Registered Annuities

If you are married, for tax planning purposes you should designate your spouse as the beneficiary of your RRSP or RRIF. However, outside of marriage, designating Autism Speaks Canada as the beneficiary of your registered plan is a simple way to leave a generous gift.

Gift of Securities

For tax efficiency, you may wish to consider donating shares of a publicly traded security or mutual fund directly to Autism Speaks Canada. If your shares have increased in value, 50% of the capital gain is usually taxable as income. However, by transferring the shares directly to charity, the capital gain tax is not applicable.