New Federal Funding for Canadians Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Federal Budget was announced at the end of February, and it was outlined that $20 million will be provided over five years to new initiatives aimed at helping families affected by autism spectrum disorder.

Additionally, British Columbia will soon be home to the headquarters of a new national autism support network meant to address significant gaps in our knowledge surrounding autism spectrum disorder.

More than half of the $20 million funding — $10.9 million — will go toward the creation of the Autism-Intellectual-Developmental Disabilities National Resource and Exchange Network (AIDE). AIDE will be led by the Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN), which operates out of Richmond, B.C., and the Miriam Foundation, out of Montréal. The aim of AIDE is to be a place where families can access information.

According to Autism Speaks Canada, the disorder is the fastest growing and most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in the country. Since autism is a spectrum disorder, it presents differently in different people, which can make it difficult to nail down accurate information. An estimated one in 68 children in Canada are affected.

In addition to the creation of AIDE, the 2018 budget also said $9.1 million will be provided to the Public Health Agency of Canada to help reduce stigma around autism spectrum disorder and create new innovative programs that support those living with it.

CVS fully supports the efforts by the Federal government to help families with children that are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and to help educate the public around autism spectrum disorder. Education is power and will help families but also reduce the stigma around autism spectrum disorder.