Happy New Year CASDA Members!

HAPPY NEW YEAR CASDA MEMBERS!

The activities of 2010 have begun to pay dividends in 2011 and our work to advance the development of a National ASD Strategy is moving forward.

The Leadership Committee of CASDA, comprised of Laurie Mawlam from Autism Canada Foundation, Kathleen Provost from Autism Society Canada and Margaret Whelan from the Geneva Centre for Autism, had a series of meetings with Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Institute of Health Research, and Ministry of Finance in Ottawa on January 18 & 19, 2011. The take away message from these meetings is that the Federal Government is putting in place a number of mechanisms that move us closer to a National ASD Strategy.

The momentum in the health divisions is growing and there is strong and tangible evidence of collaboration and coordination between stakeholders and public servants.

The Department of Health is excited to have played a role in the successful proclamation of Bill S211, recognizing April 2 as Autism Awareness Day. They have also recognized the relevance of CASDA in their communications through the Health Department and up to the Minister’s of ce. Their autism portfolio now includes CASDA as an important partner.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has a new autism unit. Headed by Anne-Marie Ugnat, they have hired 2 epidemiologists to start the surveillance work. The team is housed in the Canadian Chronic Diseases Prevention and Control Division. They are committed to comprehensive surveillance, building on work done to date. They plan to work with CASDA and its membership in the development of their work.

The Canadian Institute of Health Research has exciting news which will be annouced in the spring.

And nally, the leadership group met via conference call with a representative of the Ministry of Finance to begin discussion about the list of acceptable medical expenses that can be included in tax returns. A follow up conversation will be arranged with Canada Revenue Agency to discuss their position on audits of acceptable expenses.

Together, these meetings represent tremendous progress. CASDA is regarded as a catalyst of the activity happening within the Health Department.

Mark your calendars — March 30, 2011. Autism Awareness Day will be celebrated in Ottawa. Thanks to the generosity of Senator Jim Munson, a reception will be held, to celebrate the progress made to date on the advancement of the autism agenda and mark the passing of Bill S211. Stay posted for more details.

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