Better Together: A Canadian Autism Partnership

In late 2015, with funding from Public Health Agency Canada (PHAC), the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) undertook a nationwide consultation process to engage stakeholders in the development of a framework for a Canadian Autism Partnership (CAP).

The goal was to develop a platform capable of facilitating information-sharing, collaboration and innovation with a view to finding more effective ways to mitigate the complex issues impacting Canadians affected by autism.

The CAP Project Team was provided with direction and counsel from two advisory committees, one comprised of 12 autism leaders from across Canada, and the other comprised of eight Autistic self-advocates spanning across seven provinces. The project was informed by input and feedback from over 5,000 Canadians who took part in community roundtable consultations, meetings with government representatives and a national survey. The consensus identified by participants from all 10 provinces and three territories was the importance of a national partnership mechanism that could focus on efficient and effective solutions to address the significant and complex service and knowledge gaps across the country.

Based on the input, feedback and expertise of those 5000 plus stakeholders, a business plan for a Canadian Autism Partnership, entitled Better Together: A Canadian Autism Partnership was delivered in November of 2016 to the Hon. Jane Philpott, who was then serving as Minister of Health.

The proposed plan laid out a framework for CAP that would establish Pan-Canadian partnerships to focus on accelerating systemic change at the national level by mobilizing the relevant sectors and federal/ provincial/territorial governments to address the complex and diverse issues facing Autistic Canadians based on a Collective Impact Model. In addition, the plan outlined its powerful capacity for efficiencies:

  • A national platform for multi-sector collaboration and innovation to drive systemic change;
  • Focussed, robust and readily accessible knowledge translation and exchange, promoting greater efficiency of effort and resources;
  • An authoritative access point for reliable data to inform policy development, funding decisions and service delivery at the local, provincial and national levels;
  • Increased collaboration between all segments of the autism sector, promoting broader influence on the research agenda in Canada and acceleration of the time from research to implementation;
  • A unique Indigenous Engagement Strategy that reflects the cultural values of Canada’s Indigenous communities and addresses the specific needs of their population;
  • Increased capacity of northern and remote communities by providing a hub for shared information, policy and research, and collaboration with more well-resourced parts of the country;
  • Effective partnerships to enable pooling of resources across multiple sectors and all levels of government; and
  • Greater equity across all Provinces and Territories through enhanced capacity to share resources and adapt models of service to reflect the diversity of Canada, its people and its geography.

The CAP Project concluded with the identification of national priority areas needed for a better Canada for Autistic Canadians:

  • 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
  • Specialized education supports, including transitions to work, post-secondary education and independent life.

Related CAPP reports (in PDF format) are available below

CAPP Business Plan
Download PDF: EN / FR
CAPP Executive Summary
Download PDF: EN / FR
CAPP  Briefing Note
Download PDF: EN / FR
CAPP Process
Download PDF: EN / FR
CASDA Asset Map
Download PDF: EN
National Needs Assessment Survey
Download PDF: EN
CAPP Advisory Group
Download PDF: EN
CAPP Innovations Findings
Download PDF: EN