On behalf of Canada’s Conservatives, Mike Lake candidate for Edmonton – Wetaskiwin released the following statement:

“There is an estimated 1 in 66 Canadians aged 5 to 17 who are diagnosed with autism. Across Canada, families work tirelessly to support their children and care for their loved ones. Evidence-based therapies and services can cost up to $80,000 per year for children with high needs. The financial costs added to missed work, drives to appointments, and late nights all add up.

“At present, across the country, provinces and territories struggle to meet the growing needs of the autism community. There are jurisdictional inequalities in service deliveries that force families to move or seek services away from home.

“Canada’s Conservatives believe that the federal government can play an important role in developing a strategy to assist those living with autism and their families. As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will work with autism stakeholders to develop a National Autism Strategy.

“An initial investment of $50 million over five years would be invested to develop a comprehensive strategy in consultation with autistic individuals, autism organizations, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, and indigenous communities. The National Autism Strategy will be person-centred, include first-person perspectives, will be culturally appropriate, and will reflect the needs of Canada’s northern, rural, and remote communities.

“This is an important first step to support Canadians’ access to meaningful support and resources to live to their full potential, no matter where they live.

“A new Conservative government will work together with autism organizations across Canada, and the greater autism community to address the needs of the autism community so they can live their best life possible.”