The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences was selected by the Canadian government to conduct an assessment on autism. This assessment will consider scientific information and also be informed by a public engagement process. This assessment will help inform policy makers as they consider the development of a National Autism Strategy. 

An important part of this assessment is input from Autistic people, family members, and others who support them including service providers, educators, volunteers and organizations.

Our engagement process offers different ways for people to share their ideas and experiences. It was designed by Autistic people and family members, researchers, engagement specialists and others. 

Here is an explanation of how to get involved:

Engagement hub: This website is for Autistic people, family members, and others who support them including service providers, educators and volunteers. Here you can share your views on autism by:

  • Taking a survey
  • Posting ideas about different topics 
  • Joining a discussion using the online chat forum

The hub lets participants contribute at their own pace, in a way that isn’t rushed and at a time that is convenient. It is a good option for people who need assistance to participate. 

The engagement hub is open from April 7 to May 31, 2021. Visit the Engagement Hub at https://consultation-en.cahs-acss.ca/.

Community conversations: Join others in a live (Zoom) conversation about autism. There are 21 conversations. Each one is designed to meet the needs of different people and organizations, based on their identity or location. 

Community conversations are taking place in April and May. Learn more and sign up for the conversation you’re interested in at https://cahs-acss.ca/community-conversations/.

Written submissions: Provide detailed input using our written submission form. This form is designed specifically for stakeholder organizations. The deadline to make a submission is April 11. To make a submission, visit https://survey.alchemer-ca.com/s3/50098476/Written-Submissions-Stakeholder-Organizations

There are also two national public opinion polls and rounds of focus groups taking place in March and July. Environics Analytics, an independent research firm, is conducting these. Environics is recruiting participants including Autistic individuals, their family members, service providers, and members of the general public. 

How will the information provided during this engagement process be used? 

The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences collects information from people when they participate in this engagement process. This includes their name, email address and additional demographic information. This information is being collected for one or all of the following reasons:

  • To communicate with participants during the engagement process, usually by email
  • To help analyze and interpret the input that is shared

Personal and identifying information collected in the engagement hub and community conversations will not be shared publicly.

Researchers will compile input gathered through the engagement hub and community conversations. Compiled input will then be shared with members of the assessment team for review and analysis. Personal and identifying information for those who have provided input will not be shared with the assessment team. 

All written submissions are part of our public record. An organization’s name and primary purpose could be shared in the assessment or elsewhere.

How will this information inform the assessment?

The assessment on autism will consider scientific information and also be informed by the public engagement process. 

It will be based on a review of the following types of scientific and policy information:

  • Published research
  • Reports from government and organizations
  • Best practices
  • Policies (in Canada and around the world)

This assessment will also consider input collected through the following engagement mechanisms:

  • Engagement hub
  • Community conversations
  • Written submissions
  • National opinion survey and focus groups

Based on the above, an Oversight Panel and Working Groups will write and submit a report of findings that will inform policy makers as they consider the development of a National Strategy on Autism. Autistic adults, parents, clinicians, and researchers from a variety of fields are involved in each of these groups. For more information about the Oversight Panel and each Working Group, click below:

The final report from this assessment will be delivered to the Public Health Agency of Canada and made publicly available in early 2022.

We appreciate the contributions of individuals and stakeholder organizations to achieving this goal. Please contact us if you have questions or feedback at autism@cahs-acss.ca.