Health Canada

Health Canada

April 02, 2009 10:15 ET

Government of Canada Endorses World Autism Awareness Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 2, 2009) - On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced that April 2 will be recognized as World Autism Awareness Day in Canada.

"The Government of Canada is pleased to recognize World Autism Awareness Day and to pay tribute to the many individuals and families in Canada who struggle with the disorder every day," said Minister Aglukkaq. "We join many nations around the globe in marking this day and using it to raise important health and social issues related to autism."

"It is important that Canadians realize both the challenges faced by families dealing with autism and the incredible uniqueness and creativity of individuals diagnosed with this mysterious disorder," said Mike Lake, Member of Parliament for Edmonton - Mill Woods - Beaumont. "Being better informed will contribute to better decision-making and a greater understanding of how to interact with people who have autism, in ways that enrich all of our lives."

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect approximately one in 150 children in Canada. It is a complex and lifelong condition with a broad spectrum of symptoms that can range from mild to very severe. In all cases, ASD affects a growing child's behaviour, social interaction abilities, and communication skills.

Research continues to look for a better understanding of the causes of ASD and the most effective treatments and interventions. The federal government recognizes that such information is essential for families of affected Canadians and therefore contributes to this important work.

For example, in October 2007, Health Canada approved $1 million over five years to support a National Chair in Autism Research and Intervention at Simon Fraser University. Since 2000, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research have also provided $21.5 million to research effective treatments and, ultimately, cures for autism. We are confident that these efforts and other initiatives will enhance our knowledge and understanding of this condition.

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media

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Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Health Canada
    613-957-2983
    or
    Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Federal Minister of Health
    Josee Bellemare
    613-957-0200
    or
    Public Inquiries:
    613-957-2991
    1-866-225-0709