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Mission Objectives

4. Improving the transition to adulthood

The employment rate of working-age adults with a developmental disability is less than a third compared to people without a disability, meaning there are approximately 500,000 working age adults with intellectual disabilities or autism. Furthermore, 83% of adults with autism reported no employment income in the 2012 Canadian Survey of Disabilities. We must ensure that children who have access to services and resources continue to receive support as they enter adulthood.

Key Programs

Family Services Community Grants

Every year in April we launch grants to autism service providers to increase their capacity and to effectively serve the autism community in Canada. Grants are selected using a rigorous review process, through a community panel of autistic individuals, family members, friends, service providers and research experts across Canada. Since 2010, we have granted $5 million to over 300 organizations across Canada. Approximately 23% of these grants help support our mission objective in helping transitions to adulthood.

Worktopia National Employment Network

A collaboration with Sinneave Family Foundation, autistic adults and other stakeholders, Worktopia seeks to improve the odds of employment success through collecting and sharing data and networking. Evolving from a national project funded in part by the Government of Canada, this network is committed to sharing their perspectives, time and talents to improve the working lives of autistic Canadians.

Employment Works

Through funding from the Government of Canada, Autism Speaks Canada collaborated with the Sinneave Family Foundation to initiate the Employment Works program. Assisting autistic individuals to build up employable skills and create more inclusive workplaces, this program is offered through 10 participating agencies, reaching over 500 participants and 300 employers since its inception in 2014. Designed for individuals who want to enter or return to the workforce, it provides employment preparedness training and support, combined with job sampling and hands-on experience to adults with autism and other disabilities.

Spectrum Works

Spectrum Works

Autism Speaks Canada collaborates with Substance Cares to host Spectrum Works job fairs to match individuals with autism with potential employers in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto. Continuing to break the stigmas associated with people living with autism, these job fairs reinforce that they are able to be contributing members in the workforce. Taking a proactive approach in pairing employers with employees is a significant step in improving adulthood experiences for people living with autism.

Annual Highlights

Employment Works is offered through 10 participating agencies, attracting over 500 participants and 300 employers. In the first three years of the program, 961 participants were served with 92% of the participants achieving enhanced employability.
Spectrum Works job fairs were attended by approximately 1,000 autistic people actively looking for employment. There are 40 support groups and 40 employers at these events to support and help autistic job seekers. Garnered over 50 million unique media impressions with 163 news articles by 86 media outlets.
Funded $35,000 to Community Living York South to replicate "Transitioning Together", a University of Wisconsin training program for youth and young adults with autism and their families in Canada. This program teaches skills to improve the transition from child and youth to adult programs and services across all levels of functioning such as goal setting, problem solving, social planning and self-advocacy.
Funded $40,000 of our Family Services Community Grants to The Sinneave Family Foundation to create a practical toolkit to help employers build an inclusive workforce. The goal of the toolkit is to increase the odds of successful and sustained employment for autistic adults.
Partnered with Seneca’s Behavioural Studies program, Mackenzie Health and Behavioural Supports Ontario to develop and provide training at Seneca that educates students and caregivers at long-term care homes to improve the quality of life for seniors with autism.

Stories From Our Community

Witness the impact of programs and key individuals as they assist in navigating the transition to adulthood.

Spectrum Works

Corey Walker

Transitioning Together in Ontario