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Justin Trudeau Announces Endorsement for Development of a National Autism Strategy

(December 9, 2019): The Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) welcomes the news that the Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada announced his support for the development of a National Autism Strategy. 

The Prime Minister’s announcement was made during a pre-recorded message that was delivered during Pacific Autism Family Network’s 2019 Launch Holiday Luncheon. In his remarks, Prime Minister Trudeau stated that he is in support to “develop and implement a National Autism Strategy”, and that “together we are going to keep finding new ways to ensure that every family has the chance to succeed”. 

“Our organization has worked tirelessly in collaboration with members of the Autism community to advocate for a National Autism Strategy,” said Jonathan Lai, Director of Operations and Strategy with CASDA. “We are increasingly seeing provinces and territories struggle to address the complex issues pertaining to Autism across the lifespan. Without a consistent, streamlined approach based on best-practices, these jurisdictions are making decisions essentially in silos.” 

This announcement follows CASDA’s development of the National Autism Strategy blueprint which was the starting point for the discussion, while the pillars outlined within the blueprint are all directly attributed to the consultations CASDA has held over the last several years. CASDA is dedicated to making sure that any National Autism Strategy developed is reflective of the diverse makeup of the Autism community. 

“This announcement is the result of people investing so much time and energy into working hard for essential basic human rights for themselves, their family members and loved ones,” said Debbie Irish, Chair of CASDA. “This is an opportunity for the government to display much needed leadership in bringing such a significant community together to work collaboratively to find solutions and a better path forward for Autistic individuals, their families and their caregivers.”

“A National Autism Strategy will facilitate the development and implementation of the large collaborations needed to advance our understanding of autism,” said Stelios Georgiades, associate professor at McMaster University and Founder and Co-Director of McMaster Autism Research Team (MacART). It will also help accelerate the translation of research evidence into improved policies and practices for all Canadians living with autism.”