Government of Canada Announces First Project under the Autism Spectrum Disorder Strategic Fund

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

News release

New project will support programming for Canadians living with or directly impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder

April 2, 2019 Ottawa, ON Public Health Agency of Canada

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex life-long condition that affects not only the person with ASD, but their families, caregivers and communities as well. The impacts of ASD are significant and pose different challenges at different points of an individual’s life.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced funding for a community-based project that will better serve the complex needs of individuals with ASD as well as their families and caregivers throughout their lives, with a focus on times of transition from youth to adult and from adult to senior.

Projects funded through the Autism Spectrum Disorder Strategic Fund will provide opportunities for Canadians living with ASD as well as their families and caregivers to gain knowledge, resources and skills. Funding will also improve the capacity of communities to address the challenges of autism. This support is essential to helping Canadians affected by ASD achieve and maintain optimal health and wellbeing.

The first in a series, Autism Nova Scotia’s project includes more than $800K in funding and in-kind contributions to scale up an existing Healthy Relationships, Sexuality & Autism (HRSA) Program geared to adults with ASD, aged 18 and older, across Atlantic Canada. The objectives of the HRSA program are to improve the sexual health, quality of life and long-term wellbeing of adults with ASD, and increase the ability of service providers to provide sexual education resources to these adults, their families and caregivers.


“I am pleased to announce funding to help address some of the complex and challenging issues Canadians living with and affected by autism face. The investment announced today supports community-based projects in Atlantic Canada that are helping Canadians directly or indirectly affected by ASD, where and when they need the support most.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“Sexual health and education is often inaccessible to adults with autism. The recent funding will expand the Healthy Relationship, Sexuality and Autism program across Atlantic Canada, and create tangible learning opportunities for autistic adults to improve their sexual health, quality of life, and long-term well-being.”

Cynthia Carroll
Executive Director, Autism Nova Scotia

Quick facts

  • ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication.
  • Approximately 1 in 66 Canadian children and youth, aged 5 to 17 years, is diagnosed with autism. Boys are 4.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than girls.
  • Budget 2018 allocated $20 million over five years to better support the needs of Canadians with ASD as well as their families and caregivers. Of this overall investment, $9.1 million was invested to establish the Autism Spectrum Disorders Strategic Fund to implement and share knowledge and adopt a multi-faceted approach to supporting Canadians who are affected by ASD through the engagement of partners from various sectors.
  • In October 2018 more than $10 million was announced for the Pacific Autism Family Network and the Miriam Foundation to develop the Autism-Intellectual-Developmental Disabilities National Resource and Exchange (AIDE) Network, a national website and online resource centre for Canadians. The AIDE Network will provide centralized access to the latest evidence-based research, information, resources and supports on ASD in both official languages.

Associated links


Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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