The Second Annual Canadian Autism Leadership Summit took place on April 18th and 19th in Ottawa, Ontario. Over 170 leaders in Canada’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community attended this year’s Summit.

The Summit was opened by the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Senator Jim Munson. The second day of the Summit was opened by the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Person’s with Disabilities and the Honourable Mike Lake, P.C., M.P.

Presentations highlighted innovative ASD related research, programs and/or services across the lifespan that were identified as priority service needs in the Autism in Canada, National Needs Assessment Survey. Many presentations at this year’s Summit also focused on the importance of a collective impact approach to achieve system change.

The Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA) provided an update on the Canadian Autism Partnership Project. The Canadian Autism Partnership Project received funding from the Government of Canada to support exploration of the partnership concept through a stakeholder engagement process. Canadians will be able to find more information on the Canadian Autism Partnership Project and updates on stakeholder engagement through the project webpage. This page is due to launch in early May 2016 and will be accessible through CASDA’s website or directly at www.capproject.ca.

A stakeholder update was provided by the ASD Research Chair, Jonathan Weiss, Ph.D. (York University). Kim Elmslie, Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch, provided an update on the ASD National Surveillance Project. She indicated that data should be available before the end of 2016.

On Monday evening, the Honourable Senator Jim Munson, the Honourable Senator Leo Housakos, the Honourable Mike Lake P.C., M.P., and Matthew Dube M.P. hosted a reception for Summit attendees in the Senate Foyer. The reception was also attended by several children with ASD and their families.

On Tuesday, nineteen presenters from across Canada provided brief overviews of promising practices in research, programs and/or services serving individuals with ASD. During the lunch break, hundreds of people gathered on the steps of Parliament to support Quickstart’s Autism on the Hill event.

The event was closed with a video update from the amazing crew at Spectrum Productions.

Planning has already started for Summit 2017. Stay tuned!

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