Message from the Minister of Health – World Autism Awareness Day


April 2, 2023 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

Autism, also referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition affecting about 1 in 50 children and youth in Canada aged 1 to 17 years. The symptoms of this condition can vary in both their type and their intensity. Each Autistic person has different strengths, support needs, and challenges throughout their life.

On this day, let's come together to increase awareness of autism and end the stigma and discrimination that Autistic individuals often experience. By strengthening inclusion and acceptance, we can create more opportunities for Canadians on the autism spectrum to thrive and reach their full potential.

The Government of Canada is committed to improving the health and well-being of people on the autism spectrum and to supporting their caregivers. Over the last five years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has invested approximately $78 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 Autistic Canadians and their families. To further support paid caregivers, most recently, we announced $1.7 billion to support hourly wage increases for personal support workers and similar professions. Improved working conditions results in improved quality of care. Additionally, some non-paid caregivers may benefit from the non-refundable Canada caregiver credit which provides financial support to those caring for a dependent loved one.

Just last week, on March 30, 2023, Bill S-203, the Federal Framework on Autism Spectrum Disorder Act, received Royal Assent. This important legislation outlines a commitment for the development of a federal framework designed to support Autistic Canadians, their families and caregivers.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) remains focused on the development of a national autism strategy and is working towards a release in 2023, in collaboration with provinces, territories, families, Indigenous organizations, and other partners. The strategy is being developed through a broad and inclusive engagement process, including the 2022 National Autism Conference that took place last November, as well as the evidence and scientific review undertaken by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. This coordinated effort will help improve our understanding of autism and support the needs of Canadians on the autism spectrum, their families, and caregivers.

The Government of Canada is committed to raising awareness and acceptance of autism in Canada so we can all better support Autistic Canadians, their families and caregivers.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health


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

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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