Conclusion of the National Autism Conference

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

November 16, 2022

Today marked the conclusion of the 2022 National Autism Conference. Hosted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the virtual event took place over two days and brought together federal, provincial, and territorial officials, Autistic individuals, their families and caregivers, advocates, Indigenous Peoples, and stakeholders to inform the development of a national autism strategy.

The discussions built on the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ engagement process and scientific evidence review that took place earlier in 2022 and will help prioritize areas for action for the strategy.

Topics discussed included meaningful employment; financial pressures that Autistic individuals and families face; physical and emotional safety; the evolving need for autism-inclusive supports related to housing and health human resources; considerations regarding equity, diversity and inclusion; and how current and ongoing research on autism could be supported to inform policy and program development.

Addressing the complex and diverse needs of Autistic populations in Canada requires a coordinated effort across all levels of government and service providers. The Government of Canada is working closely with Autistic communities to contribute to the shared goal of improving their health and well-being. The National Autism Conference is a key milestone on the road to developing a national autism strategy that is responsive to the needs of Autistic individuals, their families, and caregivers.


“This conference plays an important role in improving the lives of Autistic communities by determining priority areas for the national autism strategy. The insightful lived experiences and professional leadership that was brought to the table these past two days will be crucial in guiding the development of the strategy. Together, we can contribute to meaningful improvements to the health and well-being of Autistic individuals, their families and caregivers, for years to come.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“It was a pleasure to launch this national conference dedicated to the development of a national autism strategy. By coming together, we can make sure that we are developing an inclusive and comprehensive strategy that reflects the best expert advice and the experiences of those with Autism.”

Adam van Koeverden
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

“Our government is committed to making Canada inclusive from the start. We are supportive of the hard work of the self-advocates, families, and organizations that have been at the forefront of making sure that the policy is as inclusive and equitable as possible. This conference is a major step in helping to improve the well-being of Canadians with Autism.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Quick Facts

  • Autism (also referred to as autism spectrum disorder or ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition. Each individual on the autism spectrum is unique, and the term “spectrum” refers to the wide variation in Autistic individuals’ strengths and challenges.
  • It is estimated that 1 in 50 children and youth aged 1 to 17 years have been diagnosed with autism in Canada.
  • There is growing evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health measures have had a negative impact on many Autistic people and their families and caregivers. Disrupted routines and restricted or reduced access to programming, services and activities has had, and continues to have, a negative impact.
  • Over the last five years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has invested approximately $68 million in research on autism. This research is increasing our understanding of autism and guiding the development of innovative tools and more effective ways to support Canadians on the autism spectrum and their families.
  • Budget 2021 provided PHAC with $15.4 million over two years, to work collaboratively with provinces, territories, families and stakeholders toward the creation of a national autism strategy. Continued collaboration and knowledge-sharing across sectors and disciplines will help improve our understanding of autism, and support the needs of Autistic Canadians, their families and caregivers.
  • Budget 2018 allocated $20 million over five years to better support the needs of Autistic individuals, their families and caregivers. Through this investment, $9.1 million was allocated to establish the Autism Spectrum Disorder Strategic Fund to support community-based projects that pursue innovative program models, help reduce stigma, and integrate health, social and educational components to better serve the complex needs of Autistic Canadians and their families. $10.9 million was also allocated for Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Knowledge Exchange Network (AIDE Canada), which provides access to online resources, including an inventory of services, supports, employment opportunities and local programming for families across the country.

Associated links


Guillaume Bertrand
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada
[email protected]

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