About us

Our History

Our history is one rich in education, advocacy, support and an unwavering dedication to improving the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

In 2015, two of Canada’s largest, leading autism organizations — Autism Society Canada (established in 1976) and Autism Canada Foundation (established in 2002) – amalgamated to form Autism Canada. 

Members realized that by joining together, they could build one strong organization to support the Canadian autism community. 

Autism Canada is the only Canadian autism advocacy organization with a national perspective on the issues currently facing those with ASD, their families and other stakeholders. 

Contact Us

Autism Canada
140 Yonge St., Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario M5C 1X6

Local:  647-362-5610
Toll-free:  1-800-983-1795

Family Support & Media Relations:

Dominique Payment
1-800-983-1795  ext. #1


Mariana Curic
1-800-983-1795  ext. #2

Social Media & Events:

Julie Purkis
1-800-983-1795  ext. #3


Sponsorship & Fundraising:

Breckyn Caers
1-800-983-1795  ext. #4

Search and Rescue for Autism Program (SARA):

Shanyn Silinski
1-800-983-1795  ext. #5

General Inquiries:

Mariana Curic
1-800-983-1795  ext. #6
e: info@autismcanada.org

Meet Our Team

Barbara Patten

Executive Director

With more than 25 years of business and community experience gained through fundraising, leading teams, marketing, branding, volunteering and project delivery Barbara is a natural fit for Autism Canada.  She is an energetic team player who loves to build relationships and make a difference in the lives of others.   

Beginning her career with a decade at Nike Canada then spending many years as a National Account Executive with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Barbara has the passion and skills to bring awareness to the autism cause and to advocate for those on the spectrum, their families and caregivers.   

Shanyn Silinski

Search and Rescue for Autism (SARA) Program Manager

As a former Captain of a local volunteer fire department and training officer, Shanyn is no stranger to emergency planning and response. She spent a number of years working on a joint research and development project between the Department of Defense and Public Safety as a Senior Advisor heading a national working group with a focus on emergency planning. Her over twenty years in communications and public relations experience will complement her lived experience when developing these education resources and will without a doubt be an asset when engaging stakeholders across the country.

Mariana Curic

Donations / Office coordinator

Mariana is in her 4th year at the University of Guelph-Humber, studying Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing. She has worked in a multitude of industries such as NFPs and Real Estate.  

Throughout her life, she has become an advocate for Women’s Rights, and has personal experience with Autism. 

Mariana runs her own online bake shop on the side where she provides dietary options. In the future, Mariana wants to pursue her bake shop full time.

Breckyn Caers

Sponsorship & Fundraising

At 16 years old, Breckyn organized her first major fundraiser – a battle of the bands – and she never looked back. More than 15 years later, she has worked with the museum system, Indigenous agencies and various community-based affordability, housing, and basic rights initiatives.  

Well versed in local and national partnerships and with extensive fund development experience, she relishes the opportunity to work with Autism Canada to affect change for the greater community. Breckyn looks forward to finding the best fit for all individuals, businesses and levels of government to support Autism Canada.   

Breckyn lives on her little piece of heaven, south of Ottawa, with her 2 sons and her husband who all keep her wonderfully busy when she isn’t working.  

Tafari Davis

Technical Support

In 2010, Tafari graduated from Cambrian College (Sudbury, ON) with a diploma in Graphic Design. Upon graduating, he started working with Autism Canada to develop and implement the visual language of the organization. Since then, he has worked on numerous projects including revamping the Autism Canada website, designing annual reports and creating the website for their national fundraiser Inside Out For Autism. He continues to freelance with various not-for-profit companies while also pursuing a career in music as a singer/songwriter

Dominque Payment

Family Support & Media Relations

Prior to joining Autism Canada, Dominique has worked in the non-profit sector as a consultant for families and individuals seeking support and services relating to special needs.  She has experience offering early intervention strategies as well as connecting people to local community resources. Dominique also has personal experience with autism.

Dominique comes to us with a background in Psychology, Autism Behavioural Science with emphasis on ABA, Human Resources, Manufacturing Leadership and Talent Acquisition.  In her spare time, Dominique is passionate about volunteering with her family to support causes that are near and dear to their hearts. 

Julie Purkis

Social Media & Events CoordinatorS

After spending the greater part of her career working in the “music biz”, Julie is returning to work after spending time at home with her two boys.

Along with a keen desire to make a difference, she brings a wealth of experience in project management, creative management and event planning to the team.

In her spare time, Julie has volunteered with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Scouts Canada and her kids’ schools. She loves music, skiing, spending time outdoors, hanging out with her family and their dog, Ruby, and doing CrossFit.

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