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CAN & YVR: Launching a community of support

As we continue to celebrate Donor Appreciation Month at Canucks Autism Network (CAN), we want to recognize Vancouver International Airport (YVR) for their ongoing support.

As a longtime community partner, YVR’s work with us has naturally focused on increasing autism accessibility within their walls. But in recent years, they have expanded their commitment to CAN by dedicating vital funding towards our training initiatives province-wide. This is their story.

February 18, 2022

For years, CAN & YVR’s Autism Accessibility Tour was a highly-anticipated staple in our event calendar. Held annually from 2014-19, the event provided a simulated travel experience for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, while introducing them to vital accessibility resources that remain available year-round at YVR.

These events allowed kids, youth and adults to familiarize themselves with the check-in, security screening and boarding process, launching them into a world of air travel possibilities.

“Ensuring the airport is accessible and a place of welcome for all is a top priority at YVR,” said Richard Beed, Vice President of People and Brand at the Vancouver Airport Authority.

A mother and son pose for a photo on an airplane during the 2019 CAN & YVR Autism Accessibility Tour.

Kerry and her son (pictured in 2019) are among hundreds of families who have benefited from CAN & YVR’s annual Autism Accessibility Tours.

As part of the partnership, YVR staff and partners also received valuable autism training.

“The familiarization tours and training sessions have provided an opportunity to educate our teams and partners, share best practices, and learn ways we can support individuals and families based on their needs and preferences,” added Cathy Nyfors, Manager of Passenger Programs at YVR.

Due to COVID-19, we haven’t been able to deliver the tours since 2019. We are hopeful that we will be able to re-introduce the YVR event in the very near future.

But in the absence of the annual tour, YVR has found new ways to broaden their support of CAN.

In recent years, we have been so thankful to see our local airport authority become a key funder. Those involved with the CAN Virtual Challenge will remember YVR as the fundraiser’s presenting sponsor in both 2020 and 2021.

Beyond sponsorship, YVR’s financial support is essential to our Training and Community Engagement initiatives.

After leading by example, they now provide funding to ensure our work with them is duplicated far and wide across BC. Knowing the benefits of the training is what inspired YVR to help fund our efforts to increase accessibility across community settings.

With YVR’s help, CAN provided training to over 40 different organizations in 2021.

From sports & rec providers to educators to first responders and employers, those efforts have amounted to over 1,000 individuals are now equipped to include individuals on the spectrum in their community spaces.

We are so grateful to have had YVR’s support for over eight years now. At CAN, we believe that every community should take action to include and support autistic individuals. It is only together that we can make real change.

Thank you, YVR!

Learn more

For more info on autism accessibility at YVR, please visit yvr.ca/autism.
For more information on CAN training, please visit canucksautism.ca/training.

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