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Canucks Autism Network was founded in 2008 by Vancouver Canucks Co-owners, Paolo and Clara Aquilini.

About Autism and Canucks Autism Network

What is Autism?

Autism is characterized by difficulties with social communication, sensory sensitivities and repetitive behaviour, as well as a wide range of individual strengths, interests and abilities.

What is the prevalence of autism?

In British Columbia, 1 in 32 children and youth is diagnosed with autism and there are over 19,000 children and youth with autism.

(Ministry of Children and Family Development, December 2021)

The Public Health Authority of Canada estimates 1 in 66 children has autism in Canada.

What does Canucks Autism Network do?

Canucks Autism Network provides programs for individuals with autism and their families, while promoting acceptance and inclusion through community engagement and training initiatives across BC and beyond.

In short, we focus on three areas: program delivery, training and community engagement.

Is Canucks Autism Network a registered charity?

Canucks Autism Network is a registered charity under the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Our registered charity number is: 82247 2957 RR0001.

What is the association with the Vancouver Canucks?

Canucks Autism Network (CAN) was founded by Paolo and Clara Aquilini, Co-owners of the Vancouver Canucks. In addition, CAN receives generous funding from the Canucks for Kids Fund and support from the Vancouver Canucks organization at fundraising and community engagement events throughout the year.

What is the criteria to be a Canucks Autism Network member?
  • An individual in the immediate family (i.e. a son or daughter, or the individual who is registering) must be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Individuals and families wishing to become members and access programs and member benefits must live in British Columbia, Canada.
  • Individuals across the autism spectrum are welcome to participate, regardless of the level of support they require.
How much does it cost to join as a member?

Canucks Autism Network (CAN) membership includes an annual fee of $25 for each registered participant with autism.

This fee may be paid in any of the following ways:

  • Through the autism funding provided by the Ministry of Children and Family Development
  • Credit card through the online CAN Membership account,
  • By cheque mailed to the CAN Office (1788 West 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1V6)
  • With cash at the CAN Office (1788 West 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1V6).
Why aren't you offering programs in my community?

When we enter new communities, we consider:

  • The number of individuals with autism and their families in the area
  • Potential support from community partners (recreation centres who are interested in hosting the program, organizations that can partner with us to deliver the program etc.)
  • Local donor support
  • Availability of staff/volunteers
  • Other similar programs that are already being offered in the region
What programs are offered by Canucks Autism Network?

To see a full listing of programs, locations and age groups for the current season, please visit our Programs page.

Do you charge fees for your programs?

The majority of our programs are included in the annual $25 membership fee, however, some of our more resource-intensive programs come with a highly subsidized fee to ensure their long-term financial sustainability.

How do I pay for the program fees?

In addition to traditional payment options, we accept payment through Autism Funding provided by the government and sporting grants, such as JumpStart and KidSport.

For details on payment options, please visit our Program Payment Options webpage.

What if I can't afford to pay a program fee?

At Canucks Autism Network, we value accessibility and strive to eliminate financial barriers to program participation. If a program fee is a barrier for your family, we encourage you to submit a request for fee reduction or a waiver through our Fee Assistance Program. Please e-mail [email protected] for more information.

How is the Canucks Autism Network governed and managed?

Canucks Autism Network is governed by a democratically elected Board of Directors.

Where can I access Canucks Autism Network's financial statements?

Canucks Autism Network’s financials are audited yearly. View our 2019 Financial Statements. To see older reports, please email: [email protected]

How can I work for Canucks Autism Network?

Interested in joining our fun and dynamic team? Learn about our current employment opportunities.

How can I become a Canucks Autism Network volunteer?

We are always looking for dedicated and passionate individuals who are looking to give back. Our volunteers collaborate with our trained and qualified staff to provide individualized and adapted support to children, youth, and adults with autism. Learn more about volunteering with Canucks Autism Network.


Where are programs offered?

Canucks Autism Network delivers programs across the Lower Mainland as well as in Kamloops, Kelowna, Victoria and Nanaimo. All program locations, dates, and times, are available in our seasonal program guidesTraining opportunities are available across British Columbia.

Why don't you offer programs in my community?

We are always looking to increase our impact across the province. When we enter new communities, we consider the following criteria:

  • The number of individuals with autism and their families in the area
  • Potential  support from community partners (e.g., recreation centres who are able to host the program, organizations interested in partnering with us to deliver the program)
  • Local donor or funding support
  • Availability of staff and volunteers
  • Other similar programs that are already being offered in the region
Do you charge for your programs?

Some programs require members to pay a highly subsidized fee as a means to ensure program sustainability. Along with traditional payment options, we accept Autism Funding and sporting grants, including JumpStart and KidSport

What if I can't afford to pay for a program fee?

At Canucks Autism Network, we value accessibility and strive to eliminate financial barriers to program participation. If a program fee is a barrier for you or your family, we encourage you to submit a request for fee reduction or waiver through our Fee Assistance Program. Please e-mail [email protected] for more information.

Why don't you support all disabilities?

Since its inception in 2008, Canucks Autism Network has been dedicated to providing  programs that have been specifically designed and adapted for individuals living with autism. In addition, much of the funding we receive is specific to autism programming.

My child is non-verbal. Can he/she participate in CAN programs?

Absolutely! We welcome individuals across the autism spectrum and utilize a variety of strategies and a range of supports including visual schedules, first-then boards, token systems and social stories, to ensure that every participant is successful on their own terms. We can also adjust our ratio of staffing to ensure that your child is well supported.

Do you accept children who can be aggressive towards others during a meltdown?

Of course. Be assured that with parent collaboration and open communication, our experienced support team and highly trained staff are equipped to manage manage types of challenging behaviours.

Can all ages participate in your programs?

Most programs are catered to the following age groups:

  • Early years: Ages 3-6
  • Children: Ages 7-12
  • Youth: Ages 13-17
  • Adults: Ages 18+
Why did my child end up on a wait list?

Registration decisions are based on a variety of factors including the overall demand for a program, a participant’s registration history, and a family’s ability to access programming.

Demand for most programs is quite high, therefore, participants will not be accommodated into every program they wish to attend. At Canucks Autism Network, our goal is to accommodate as many unique individuals into programs as possible, and registration decisions are made with this objective in mind.

I am having troubles with registration. What do I do?

If you are experiencing difficulties with the online registration process, please see our Frequently Asked Questions – Registration.

If you still cannot find the answer you are looking for, please contact the office by email at [email protected], or by phone at 604-685-4049. Our helpful team will be able to look into the issues that you are experiencing, and help answer your questions.

I would like to request a different program time. How do I make the request?

We do our best to accommodate all requests, however, we ask that families be flexible. Participants are placed into specific time slots in order to accommodate as many unique individuals as possible. Families are welcome to request a program time change by emailing [email protected], however, not all requests will be accommodated.

Will I get to meet Vancouver Canucks players?

At times, Vancouver Canucks players may be present at CAN programs or events, however, we ask that families allow the players to participate in the activity and do not ask for photos or autographs.

Can I get tickets to a Vancouver Canucks game?

At times, Vancouver Canucks players may be present at CAN programs or events, however, we ask that families allow the players to participate in the activity and do not ask for photos or autographs.


What is the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) membership?

A CAN membership provides individuals on the spectrum living in British Columbia, and their families, the opportunity to register for CAN programs, including children, youth, and adult programming, as well as family experiences. 

Who is eligible for a CAN membership?

CAN memberships are for individuals with an autism diagnosis living in British Columbia, Canada.

How do I sign up for a CAN membership?

To sign up as a CAN member, you must first create an online membership account, accessible through www.canucksautism.ca. If you are a parent/guardian, you will create the account under your name, and then add your additional family members, including the individual(s) with autism. If you are an adult with autism registering themselves, you will create the account under your own name.

After you create your online account, you will then submit the following three items:

  1. Proof of autism diagnosis – any physician signed document that clearly states the individual is on the autism spectrum,
  2. Photos of the family members listed in your online account – for internal purposes only, for example we use them as a point of reference to help us identify who is in photos taken at programs,
  3. Annual $25 membership fee – may be processed through online account.

Items may be emailed to [email protected], or sent by post to Canucks Autism Network, 1788 W 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V6Y 1V6.


When does registration take place?

Online registration for programs takes place throughout the year. To help members stay informed about upcoming programs and registration dates we use:

  • Monthly email newsletter – this newsletter is sent at the start of each month, and lists registrations taking place that month
  • Seasonal Program Guides – these seasonal guides lists program details, including registration information, for programs taking place during that season

Recent email newsletters and seasonal program guides are accessible through canucksautism.ca.

How do I register for a program?

CAN members register for programs through their online account while registration is open. After registration closes, participants may submit a late registration request at canucksautism.ca/late, and they will be put on the waitlist for the program.

Why is my registration request pending?

For our programs, we use a registration process we call Pending Enrolment Only, where there are no spots allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rather, we have registration open for four days (Monday at noon to Friday at noon), and everyone who submits a request during this period will have their requests Pending. After registration closes, we review all requests received, make enrolment decisions, and follow up with all participants within a week following registration closing.

We use the Pending Enrolment Only process for registration for a few reasons:

  • It allows us to accommodate as many individuals with autism as possible into our programs. For example, it avoids those who are quick on the computer securing multiple program spots, while someone who is not able to register right when registration opens missing the opportunity to access any programs.
  • It helps to decrease members’ stress of signing up right when registration opens. This is helpful for those not comfortable with the computer, those who experience technical difficulties, or those who are unable to register right when registration opens because of work or other commitments.
Why is registration open for such a short period?

Registration is open for a short period because we use the Pending Enrolment Only process. With all requests pending, we like to follow up with our members as soon as possible regarding the status of their requests, so that they have time to begin planning their upcoming schedules.

I really want one program over another – what do I do?

When submitting two or more registration requests for weekly programs, participants are able to rank their requests in order of preference. When reviewing requests after registration closes, we take into consideration these rankings.

How are enrolment decisions made?

The level of interest in a program is the impactful factor for enrolment decisions. Other factors include past registration history of participants, and the rankings provided by participants.

I am on the waitlist for a program – what is my place on the waitlist?

Since registration is not on a first-come, first-serve basis, we do not assign numbers to participants on program waitlists. If a spot becomes available for you, we will follow up with you through email.

I am on the waitlist for a program – when will I hear if I am enrolled into the program?

If you are on the waitlist for a program it is because the program is at capacity. This means that for spot to open up for you it will require a confirmed participant to withdraw from the program. Unfortunately, we do not know the likelihood of a confirmed participant withdrawing. If a spot does become available for you, we will follow up with you through email to see if you are still interested in the program.

I am on the waitlist for a program – can I show up to the program in case there is another participant who does not attend?

No. Participants who are not confirmed for a program are not covered by our insurance and are therefore not able to attend the program.

As well, the staff and volunteers at our programs are there to support those participants who are confirmed to attend, and we do not want them to be pulled away from providing this support.

I am confirmed for a program with a program fee – how do I make payment?

If you have been confirmed for a program with a program fee, you will be informed in your registration update email of when to expect an invoice for payment. Once you receive notice that the invoice is available for payment, you may process payment by credit card through your online account, or we also have the following options:

  • Autism Funding (for participants ages 6+yrs)
  • Cash or Cheque
  • CAN’s Fee Assistance Program
  • Community Grants
  • Open to other options – contact [email protected] if you have any questions
I am going to be away for a class during my program – who do I contact?

If you are going to miss a class (for whatever reason), please submit notice through the Report an Absence form. If we require additional information, we will follow up with you.

I can no longer take part in a program I am confirmed to attend – what do I do?

To withdraw from a program, you will email [email protected] with the participant’s first and last name, as well as the program name, location, and time.

In-Person & Virtual Programs during COVID-19

What is happening for in-person programming during COVID?

Our team is working hard to ensure that all in-person program delivery is in line with ongoing and rapidly changing provincial health orders.

We began reintroducing in-person programs this past summer 2020. Our Safety Plan is updated with each season and with each major update from provincial health authorities.

You can view our Safety Plan, Restart Plan and all program updates at canucksautism.ca/health.

How likely is it that I will get into a program?

As the scale of programming will be small, we anticipate the demand will far exceed the available spaces. While we wish we could accommodate more members at this time, we strongly believe in piloting the enhanced safety procedures with a limited number of participants to ensure we get it right.

Like other program providers, we plan to expand our offerings by gradually adding more in-person programs in more locations throughout the year — as allowable by provincial health orders.

Why aren’t there any in-person programs in my community yet?

Our goal is to reintroduce in-person programming at a rate of 25% each season — provincial health orders permitting. You can view our Restart Plan at canucksautism.ca/health.

Will there be more programs next season?

Our members should be aware that even come fall we will be facing challenges with access to facilities as well as budget constraints due to cancelled fundraising events and the overall economic impact of the pandemic. Our goal will always be to continue to serve our members with the greatest number of programs we are able to offer safely while ensuring CAN’s long-term sustainability.

Where did my recent donation go?

Many contributions that were made at the onset of COVID-19 have since been directed to our online stream of programming that has greatly benefited many individuals with autism and their families during this challenging time. A tremendous amount of time and resources went into the development and dissemination of CAN’s new online stream of programming and content. Resources were also allocated to the research and planning that went into CAN’s in-person programming Restart Plan.

Why are you offering virtual programs?

Virtual programming allows our coaches to interact with participants in real-time, while teaching lessons in a fun, new, digital environment. It also allows individuals with autism and their families to continue to benefit from the support, connection, routine and respite that our programs provide, while staying safe at home.

Furthermore, by offering programs in a digital environment, we are able to reach individuals with autism in all corners of the province, where CAN’s in-person programs are not delivered.

What are CAN’s Virtual Programs?

We have developed weekly virtual programs that participants can access in real-time for all age groups.

Activities include arts and crafts, sports and rec, movies, social meet ups and employment skills. All sessions use the free Zoom app (an online meeting platform) and are facilitated by CAN staff who are able to connect with participants in real-time, teaching lessons in a fun, new and digital environment.

You can view them all at canucksautism.ca/online.

How did you determine when to run the programs and what to offer?

We surveyed our members to find out what kinds of activities they wanted to see in virtual programs and to confirm times of day that work best for families. Families indicated they were interested in physical activity programs, arts and crafts activities and social groups/clubs. Members showed interest in both program series (e.g., 6 sessions across 6 weeks) as well as one-time events.

Will you be adding new virtual programs? What if we don’t want to do the ones you offer now?

We are currently working with a number of our partners to add new and exciting programming for our members. Stay tuned!