Autism Speaks Canada

2450 Victoria Park Avenue, Unit 120
Toronto, ON M2J 4A2
Executive Director: Jill Farber
Board Chair: Marc Murnaghan

Charitable Reg. #:86942 0208 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 4/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 60 cents are available for programs.

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About Autism Speaks Canada:

Autism Speaks Canada is the Canadian branch of Autism Speaks, an American charity focused on autism research and awareness. Autism Speaks Canada estimates that roughly one in 66 Canadian children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). More specifically, around one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls have ASD. ASD refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, and communication. To help autistic people, Autism Speaks Canada runs two major grant programs and an awareness program. The charity’s head office is in Toronto.

Family Services and Support grants represented 41% of program costs in F2019. These grants include Community grants and Special Targeted Initiative grants. Community grants fund other groups in Canada that offer support to people with ASD and their families. The charity reports that since 2010, it has granted over $4m to more than 280 organizations across Canada. Meanwhile, Special Targeted Initiative grants fund either the Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) or Integrated Services for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ISAND). PAFN is a knowledge centre that offers resources, information, and support to address individual needs. ISAND is a non-profit that connects families with relevant teams of pediatricians, psychologists, and clinicians. Autism Speaks Canada reports that it has given $1.1m in targeted grants since the program began.

Research grants were 31% of program costs in F2019. Grant recipients include the Autism Treatment Network, a collection of hospitals dedicated to improving healthcare for children with ASD. It aims to integrate clinical care with research to develop evidence-based practices and standardized care for all autistic patients. In F2019, four researchers in Ontario and Manitoba received grants totaling $368k for this initiative. Research grants also go toward the charity’s MSSNG program. In 2014, Autism Speaks Canada began working with Google on MSSNG, the world’s largest genome database studying autism. Conducted at SickKids Hospital, MSSNG researchers aimed to sequence genomes from 10,000 autistic participants to learn more about potential genetic factors and health effects. The charity reports that the MSSNG database now has more than 11,000 genetic sequences.

Collaboration and Awareness programs made up the remaining 28% of program costs. Through the program, ASC works to increase public knowledge of autism and its effects. ASC offers over 40 information tool kits to support people affected by ASD—17,500 copies of which have been downloaded by online users. The charity states that through its advocacy efforts, four major federal parties have committed to implementing a National Autism Strategy. This strategy calls for federal leaders to improve the quality of life for autistic Canadians through better access to resources and care.

Recent News: Autism Speaks Canada faced controversy in 2019 at its annual walk fundraiser. A small group of protesters and activists criticized the charity’s representation of autism, claiming that they should not be portrayed as “broken” or “helpless” due to autism. Members of Autistics United Canada, a national advocacy group, argued that autistic people should be accepted rather than coached to minimize behaviours or fit in more broadly.

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Results and Impact

In a study released through the MSSNG project, researchers worked with 85 families that each had two children with autism. The researchers found that 69% of siblings had little to no overlap in gene variations known to contribute to autism. Researchers from the Autism Treatment Network conducted a study with 49 boys, aged 8 to 17, of which 25 had autism. The team of researchers found that only 27% of the boys with autism fell into the “very physically active” category, compared to 79% of the other boys. Within the group that had autism, researchers found that bone density increased as participants consumed more protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Autism Speaks Canada’s results and impact.

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Autism Speaks Canada is a medium-sized charity, with total donations and special events revenue of $3.4m in F2019. Administrative costs are 20% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are 21% of donations and special events revenue. This means that total overhead spending is 40%. For every dollar donated to the charity, 60 cents go to the cause. This falls outside of Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. The charity has been outside of this range for the past three years.

Autism Speaks Canada has total funding reserves of $2.1m. This results in a program cost coverage ratio of 108%, which means the charity can cover around 13 months of program costs using its existing reserves.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Autism Speaks Canada for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 12, 2020 by Eric Zhao.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 19.6%16.1%13.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 20.6%27.6%27.1%
Total overhead spending 40.3%43.7%40.4%
Program cost coverage (%) 107.8%96.2%90.4%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 2,391,1372,228,2032,257,080
Special events 1,024,8341,292,8001,472,478
Investment income 41,07435,89232,044
Total revenues 3,457,0453,556,8953,761,602
Program costs 622,732409,242429,045
Grants 1,317,8181,642,2981,605,397
Administrative costs 670,039568,383494,295
Fundraising costs 705,145971,9251,011,327
Total spending 3,315,7343,591,8483,540,064
Cash flow from operations 141,311(34,953)221,538
Capital spending 8,8027805,014
Funding reserves 2,090,9681,972,9031,839,446

Note: Ci reported other income from Autism Speaks Canada’s audited financials as investment income, as it appears in the charity’s CRA filings. Ci adjusted grants to show the actual amounts given out during the year. This affected grants and total expenses by ($99k) in F2019, ($11k) in F2018, and ($304k) in F2017. Ci removed amortization from administrative costs.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 23

Avg. compensation: $60,942

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2018

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

No comments have been added by the charity.

Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 416-362-6227


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001