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Petition to Government of Canada: Consult with autistic-led organizations when developing national autism policy – AUTISTICS UNITED CANADA

To sign the petition, visit:

The full version of the petition is below.

We oppose the “National Autism Strategy” Campaign. It does not represent autistic people
and has never meaningfully consulted with autistic people. It promotes the segregation of autistics, instead of inclusion.

We stand for inclusion. The Government of Canada should consult directly with autistic people when creating a new, inclusive approach.

​We, the undersigned, strongly oppose the National Autism Strategy campaign in Canada (“National Strategy”). We call on our government to do what’s right and meaningfully consult with autistic self-advocacy organizations when developing autism policies.

The current National Strategy campaign is not supported by independent data, nor does it reflect meaningful consultation with autistic self-advocacy organizations or autistic individuals. It represents a small interest group of providers, with a minority of parent support.

The National Strategy campaign is opposed by every autistic self-advocacy group in Canada, as well as many disability rights advocates, parents, organizations and policymakers. 

Autistic people deserve to be included in school, housing, work and public life. But the types of autism services endorsed by National Strategy petitioners promote segregation–not inclusion. Autistic toddlers should not be segregated in full-time ABA “therapy” centres, nor should it be the norm for autistic students to be tracked into “special” schools and grow up to live in segregated group homes and work for pennies in sheltered workshops. These services may seem to make life easier for parents, but they do so at an unbearable cost–in human rights, freedom, autonomy and inclusion for disabled people.

Autism is not a disease to cure, but a disability to accommodate. We need access and services that promote inclusion. National Strategy petitioners take the short-sighted view that autism should be placed under Medicare. Our Government needs to keep autism policy under a range of portfolios to reflect its commitment to inclusion in all aspects of Canadian life. Canada is behind much of the rest of the world on inclusion for autistic people. It is time to catch up.

This spring, the Government of Canada met for the first time with autistic self-advocacy groups to share ideas, resources and input. We urge the Government to continue these meetings, and to:

  • Reject the “National Strategy” petition;
  • Commit to meaningful consultation with autistic self-advocacy groups (as some Provincial governments have); and
  • Collect independent data on the needs of the autistic community instead of relying on data handed to them by professional lobbyists.

Autistic people in Canada have so much to offer in the national discussion about autism policy. They should be included every step of the way. We ask our government to reject the National Strategy petition and instead develop robust, independent policy based on consultations with a range of stakeholders, including autistic self-advocates and disability rights groups across a diversity of identities and backgrounds. This includes centering the voices of black, indigenous, and other autistic people of colour, LGBTQ+ autistic people, working class and low-income autistic people, autistic people who are immigrants and refugees, autistic people with additional disabilities, and autistic people who live at other margins.

Canada can do better on autism policy–and it needs to start now.

The Autistic Advocacy Coalition of Canada
– Autistics United Canada (chapters in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia)
– Autistics 4 Autistics, Ontario
– London Autistics Standing Together

Source: Petition to Government of Canada: Consult with autistic-led organizations when developing national autism policy – AUTISTICS UNITED CANADA

By Eve Reiland

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