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Equitable access to tax fairness for Canada’s autism community

February 1, 2018 – OTTAWA, ON – Autism Canada is calling on the federal government to take action on the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), including the creation of a clear, transparent and informed application, review and appeal process.

“Understanding autism and its life-long impacts on individuals and their families, we hope our submission will underscore the urgent and compelling need for immediate action by the federal government to ensure that the financial security of this vulnerable segment of our society is protected,” said Dermot Cleary, Chair of Autism Canada.

Cleary presented five action items to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology and officials in the office of the National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier today in Ottawa.

Autism Canada’s recommendations include:

  • the creation of a clear, transparent and informed application, review and appeals process;
  • clear, consistent and universally accepted classification criteria for disability;
  • uncoupling the Registered Disability Saving Plan (RDSP) from the Disability Tax Credit;
  • federal monitoring and evaluation of population-based disability data; and,
  • inclusion of the neurodevelopmental community on the Disability Advisory Committee.

“The Disability Tax Credit application process is onerous at best,” said Cleary. “Eligibility criteria are not suited to a neurodevelopmental diagnosis like autism. Doctors, clinicians and other healthcare practitioners are frustrated with the recent increase of application rejections or requests for additional information by Canada Revenue Agency.”

In November 2017, Autism Canada added its voice to concerns raised by other disability advocacy organizations regarding inconsistencies in the evaluation of applications for, or renewals of, the DTC.


Autism Canada calls for greater equity and transparency in Disability Tax Credit procedures. November 30, 2017: 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.

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.

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]

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]


Submission to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, February 1, 2018: Equitable Access to Tax Fairness for the Autism Community.

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.