FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2015
Provincial Autism Support Strengthened Through New Federal Programs and LifeLabs Partnership with PAFCF
Pacific Autism Family Centre Foundation (PAFCF) will deliver the Canada-wide Ready, Willing & Able and GO Group programs to those living with Autism Spectrum Disorders in BC and open an innovative blood lab through LifeLabs $150,000 donation.
Vancouver, BC – Pacific Autism Family Centre Foundation (PAFCF) announced today a partnership with the Canadian government through the Autism Society of BC to begin delivery of the Canada-wide initiatives, The Ready, Willing & Able and Go Group programs. In addition to these initiatives, LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services (“LifeLabs”) is making a substantial donation of $150,000 over the next four years. All contributions will impact individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and provide meaningful opportunities within a wide variety of community and workplace settings.
“These unprecedented partnerships will transform the lives of those with Autism Spectrum Disorders across Canada,” said Sergio Cocchia, Co-founder, PAFCF. “We’re grateful to be among these national groups and forging the path for transformative change in British Columbia.”
PAFCF, in partnership with Autism Society of BC (ASBC), will be offering the Ready, Willing & Able (RWA) program. RWA is national partnership between the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) funded by the federal government. The program focuses on working with employers to meet their labour market needs and increasing employment outcomes for people with diverse abilities. As leaders in the BC autism community, PAFCF and ASBC are partners in this initiative to enhance meaningful employment outcomes for adults living with ASD.
“Employment can be a doorway to greater independence for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our government recognized employment as a key building block in Accessibility 2024, our 10-year action plan on accessibility. It is wonderful to see PAFC partner with Ready, Willing and Able to develop new opportunities for inclusive employment. This new program will have a lasting impact in the lives of many individuals and families,” said Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell.
The GO Group strategy seeks to address the gap in employment equity services, with a focus on providing relevant vocational skills and tangible work experience customizable to individual interests and needs. The 5-venture group intends to develop a network of support and learning’s for goal-oriented employees in their path to permanent community employment.
LifeLabs is partnering with PAFCF to support a more positive blood collection experience for individuals with ASD and their families. Many individuals with ASD must be fully sedated to have their blood drawn, which in addition to being traumatic for them and their families, often delays diagnosis and treatment decisions and increases cost to the healthcare system. LifeLabs is investing $100,000 towards the construction of a clinic in the GoodLife Fitness Autism Family Hub in Richmond specifically designed to accommodate individuals with ASD. The clinic, and nine spoke locations across BC, will be supported by a $50,000 donation in services provided by LifeLabs medical laboratory technicians specially trained to work in a caring, compassionate and appropriate manner with individuals with ASD. Mobile laboratory services will also be provided in rural and remote communities across BC to support individuals with ASD who are unable to access the hub or one of the spoke locations.
“LifeLabs employees have a long standing tradition of supporting community health organizations that enable Canadians to live healthier, longer and more productive lives,” said Sue Paish, President and CEO of LifeLabs. “LifeLabs is thrilled to partner with PAFCF on this important community initiative that will improve the medical experience and outcomes for individuals with ASD and their families right across British Columbia.”
All initiatives will be implemented and available through the Pacific Autism Family Centre set to open in 2016. These partnerships, and others still to be announced, will provide a positive and tangible impact in the autism community of British Columbia, and their families.
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About Pacific Autism Family Centre Foundation
Pacific Autism Family Centre Foundation (PAFCF) is a charitable organization with a mandate to serve the needs of individuals with autism and all related disabilities and their families across their lifespan. The Foundation will open a series of hub and spoke-modeled centres in the fall of 2016. The main hub, “Goodlife Fitness Autism Family Hub” located in Richmond, British Columbia, will become a centre of excellence linking together state of the art resources for assessment, treatment, education-support and research. The hub will provide a “one-stop-shop” for families looking for support in their navigation of information and services. To learn more about Pacific Autism Family Foundation visit: www.pacificautismfamily.com
To learn more about the Ready, Willing and Able program: http://readywillingable.ca
To learn more about LifeLabs: http://www.lifelabs.com