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:

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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 (ASC) is the Canadian arm of Autism Speaks, an American charity focused on autism research and awareness. ASC estimates that roughly 1 in 66 children in Canada live with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) and it is more than 4 times more common in boys than girls. ASD is a group of brain development disorders that impair social interaction and communicative skills and cause repetitive behaviours. To help people with ASD, Autism Speaks Canada runs two major grants programs as well as awareness and collaboration programs. The charity’s head office is in Toronto.

Research grants make up the majority of Autism Speaks Canada’s programming – ASC reports that it granted $1.3m in research funding in F2017, accounting for 56% of total program costs. Included in this amount is the Autism Treatment Network which is a network of hospitals dedicated to improving the medical care of children with ASD. It aims to do this by integrating clinical care and research to develop evidence-base practice, standardize care and reduce healthcare variation. Two Canadian researchers (in Toronto and Edmonton) were awarded grants worth $355k in F2017 for this initiative. In F2014, Autism Speaks began working with Google on MSSNG, the world’s largest whole genome autism study conducted at SickKids. Through MSSNG, autism researchers aim to sequence genomes from 10,000 people affected by autism to learn more about autism-linked genes and underlying causes of the disorder. As of F2017, ASC had granted $1.1m to SickKids for the MSSNG project. The charity reports additional grant commitments of $600k to MSSNG over the next 2 years.

Family Service grants is Autism Speaks Canada’s second granting program – ASC reports that it granted $611k through this program in F2017, making up 26% of total program costs. Family Services grants include Community grants and Targeted Initiative grants. Community grants fund other organizations in Canada that run support programs for autistic people and their families. In F2017, ASC awarded $427k to support 48 organizations across the country. Targeted Initiative grants fund the Pacific Autism Family Network (PARN) and the Integrated Services for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ISLAND).

Autism Speaks Canada’s third major program is Collaboration and Awareness – the charity reports it spent $429k on this program in F2017, making up 18% of program costs. Through this program, ASC works with other organizations to increase public awareness on how autism affects people and their families. Some of the charity’s current collaborations include Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance, Community for Brain Development and Worktopia. ASC also offers over 40 tool kits to support people affected, such as the 100 Day Kit which helps newly diagnosed families to make the best use out of the first 100 days following their child’s diagnosis of autism.

Results and Impact: In a new study released through the MSSNG project, researchers worked with 85 families who each had two children affected by autism. The researchers found that 69% of siblings had little to no overlap in the gene variations known to contribute to autism. Researchers from the Autism Treatment Network conducted a study with 49 boys, ages 8 to 17, 25 of the participants 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. Additionally, within the group that had autism, the more protein, calcium and phosphorus a boy consumed, the greater their bone density was.

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Autism Speaks Canada is a medium-sized charity with total donations and special events fundraising revenue of $3.7m in F2017. Administrative costs are 13% of revenues and fundraising costs are 27% of donations. For every dollar donated to the charity, $0.60 goes towards its programs and grants, which falls outside Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. ASC has total funding reserves of $1.8m which can cover 79% of annual program costs and grants, indicating a need for donations.

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

Updated on July 17, 2018 by Derek Houlberg.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 13.3%15.4%17.2%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 27.1%32.3%33.7%
Program cost coverage (%) 78.7%88.0%88.7%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 2,257,0801,847,3051,800,320
Special events 1,472,4781,270,7531,372,096
Investment income 32,04437,48115,729
Total revenues 3,761,6023,155,5393,188,145
Program costs 429,045404,749422,267
Grants 1,909,4561,574,1801,945,656
Administrative costs 494,295479,077544,970
Fundraising costs 1,011,3271,007,1351,069,713
Cash flow from operations (82,521)(309,602)(794,461)
Funding reserves 1,839,4461,740,9872,101,499

Note: Ci has included other income under investment income as reported in the charity's CRA filings. Ci removed amortization from administrative costs, lowering administrative expenses  by $11k in F2017, $16k in F2016 and $11k in F2015.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 22

Avg. Compensation $66,306

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 F2016

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