Autism Ontario

1179 King Street West, Suite 004
Toronto, ON M6K 3C5
Executive Director: Margaret Spoelstra
Board President: Susan Morris

Charitable Reg. #:11924 8789 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 3/5]



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) 62 cents are available for programs.

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About Autism Ontario:

Founded in 1982 as Autism Society of Ontario, Autism Ontario (AO) has a mission of supporting individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. Autism Ontario’s priority is ensuring individuals with autism are provided the means to achieve a quality of life equitable to a respected member of Canadian society. In Canada, one in 66 children and youth have autism, which equates to approximately 135,000 autistic people living in Ontario. AO reports that it is the leading source of information on autism in Ontario, as well as the provincial leader for referrals for autistic people and autism-advocacy efforts.  

Autism Ontario carries out its mandate through 25 chapters across the province. These chapters facilitate support groups, services, and programming for local communities. Some services Autism Ontario offers for children and adults with ASD and their caregivers include workshops, scholarships, summer camps, support groups, and referrals to community services. AO also advocates for the rights of people living with ASD and works to educate the public on ASD through online resources and participation in conferences. To encourage equality, AO also offers Francophone-tailored resources and services. No spending breakdown by program was provided by the charity.


In F2020, Autism Ontario served 3,889 new families, 263 of whom are Francophone, and 1,740 of whom are non-English/non-Francophone. The charity highlighted awarding a total of 22 scholarships to individuals living with ASD and/or their close family members/caretakers, and 22 autistic adults $500 scholarships to increase access to recreational activities. In F2020, AO held 1,029 events, one of its most popular being Raise the Flag. Raise the Flag is an event held annually on World Autism Day which unites Canadians to recognize the struggles and triumphs of those on the autism spectrum by raising an AO flag. In F2020, approximately 400 schools and organizations participated.


Autism Ontario also reported screening 29 webinars in F2020. New additions in F2020 include the “Why and Where Culture Matters for Families with ASD” and “Learn to be a Savvy Consumer of Autism Services,” webinars. 

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Results and Impact

Autism Ontario reports that 90% of participants who attended its Social Learning Opportunities event enjoyed the event. The event allows families to participate in recreational activities in an autism-friendly environment. AO also noted that of its two new webinar series, it had 2,048 unique viewers tune in to watch. 


One of AO’s mental health programs, Living Life to the Fullest, was well received by autistic adults and their caregivers. Over 90% of participants stated the course was useful/very useful, and 98% of participants would recommend the course.


Regarding AO’s advocacy work, in December 2019, the Canadian Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services’ Minster, Todd Smith, announced the Ontario provincial government’s endorsement of a panel advisory Autism Ontario was part of. AO’s participation was connected to its role in the Ontario Autism Program.


Charity Intelligence highlights these key results. They may not be a complete representation of Autism Ontario's results. Charity Intelligence has not assessed AO on impact. This shows as n/r, meaning not rated.

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Autism Ontario had donations and special events revenue of $2.3m in F2019. It also received $3.5m in government funding, representing 55% of its total revenue. Administrative costs are 9% of total revenues and fundraising costs are 29% of total donations. For every dollar donated to the charity, 62 cents go to the cause. This is not within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. AO has funding reserves of $4.5m which can cover just under 11 months of annual program costs.


AO used external fundraisers in F2019. The charity paid $101k to raise $831k from the external fundraiser(s). That equates to a cost of $0.12 per dollar raised.


Autism Ontario refused to provide Ci with full audited financial statements. The most recent statements Ci acquired from the CRA (F2019) were used for analysis. The profile information and results reporting score is, however, based on the F2020 Annual Report.


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


Updated June 18, 2021 by Rachel Leteta.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 9.0%5.0%7.1%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 29.0%21.1%19.0%
Total overhead spending 38.0%26.1%26.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 88.6%51.8%50.8%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 1,0181,1241,261
Government funding 3,5336,6105,755
Fees for service 567673690
Special events 1,2841,3001,214
Investment income 22330
Total revenues 6,4249,7098,950
Program costs 5,0408,0447,378
Administrative costs 575485637
Fundraising costs 668512470
Total spending 6,2839,0418,485
Cash flow from operations 141669465
Capital spending 145390
Funding reserves 4,4644,1653,747

Note: Ci reported the revenue line item "Scholarship Fund" in Canadian donations. Line items "Programs" and "Educational Materials" were recorded as fees for service. Ci reported charitable gaming under special events revenue. Amortization of deferred capital contributions was removed from total revenues, affecting revenues by ($14k) in F2020, and ($10k) in F2019. Ci notes that in F2019 and F2017, Autism Ontario reported slightly higher government funding in its T3010 filing with the CRA. The charity's T3010 filing was used to allocate program, administrative and fundraising costs. Amortization was taken out of program, administrative, and fundraising costs on a pro-rata basis.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 32

Avg. compensation: $55,033

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 F2019

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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: 416-246-9592


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001