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Autism Canada calls for greater equity and transparency in Disability Tax Credit procedures

Revenue Canada indiscriminately refusing many with autism despite their own rules, families say

November 30, 2017 – OTTAWA (ON) – Autism Canada is calling on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to apply the existing criteria for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) equally, consistently and transparently across the board for all applications.

“We want fair and equitable access to the Disability Tax Credit for Canadians who have autism,” said Dermot Cleary, chair of Autism Canada.

Autism Canada is adding its voice to concerns raised by other disability advocacy organizations regarding inconsistencies in the evaluation of applications for, or renewals of, the DTC.

“Our organization is hearing too many stories from Canadians across the country about the difficulties of applying for, or keeping, a Disability Tax Credit for their children with autism, including adult individuals who have had a Disability Tax Credit for decades only to see it withdrawn by CRA.”

Autism Canada is calling on the federal government to review the fundamental procedural inequities that appear to be hampering access to the tax benefit.

Autism is one of the most commonly diagnosed neurological disorders in Canada. According to the latest estimates from March 2014 from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 68 eight-year old children in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Prevalence rates in Canada are currently being investigated. At this time, they are believed to be comparable.

Research suggests that, on average, autism costs a family $60,000 per year to access necessary supports not included in existing social and health services. The DTC is an essential mechanism to help offset that financial burden.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurological condition that impacts brain development leaving most individuals with marked social, behavioural and communication challenges. Despite the effectiveness of evidence-based treatments and therapies, there is no cure for autism. It is a life-long disability with often-significant impacts.


Senators request a meeting with the Prime Minister and Minister of Health on Autism. Senate of Canada, November 1, 2017: Open letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health.

Ottawa accused of new tax grab after disability tax credit clawback hits those with mental illness. Financial Post, October 26, 2017: Sources say that some lifelong sufferers of mental disabilities have been cut off from the disability tax credit after having received the credit for decades.

72% of kids with autism don’t get the help they need at school, survey finds. CBC News, October 26, 2017: Some parents feel their children are neglected at school because staff isn’t properly trained.

Provincial pilot program lets autistic kids get therapy on school premises. Toronto Star, October 25, 2017: Support announced one day before rally planned at Queen’s Park to protest lack of autism services in schools.

Family of teen with autism mistakenly tackled by police calls for better training. CBS News, September 21, 2017: A teenager with autism in Arizona is speaking out about a confrontation with a police officer that left him with multiple cuts and bruises.


Autism Canada rejects Canadian Autism Partnership Project. June 27, 2017: National advocacy organization calls for an actionable plan that provides equitable access to evidence-based treatments for all Canadians. [en français]

Autism Canada supports the Liberal Party of Canada’s resolution on evidence based early intervention for individuals living with autism spectrum disorders. November 4, 2016.

Five things journalists should keep in mind when writing about autism. October 14, 2016: Media stories that get it wrong can contribute to how others perceive those with autism – and even perpetuate potentially dangerous stereotypes.

Why universal screening for autism is a good idea. April 23, 2016: We don’t want to see Canadian children reaching school age before being identified as having autism. But that is precisely what is happening too often already.

National Autism Organizations Unite. October 5, 2015: Canada’s large and growing autism population has lacked a strong united national voice for many years. [en français]