Giant Steps to receive $15 M from Quebec for new autism centre

Giant Steps school in NDG.

The NDG-based Giant Steps will be receiving a $15 million contribution from the Quebec government to create the new Giant Steps Autism Centre, the organization announced.

The project will cost a total $42 million, and the organization credits donations from “several foundations, corporations and parents.”

“The new centre will be the first of its kind in Canada,” says a statement from Giant Steps. “It will stand as a model for autism services around the world and will make Quebec a leader in the field of autism education, research, advocacy and community service delivery.”

Andrée Dallaire, Co-Chair of the Giant Steps Autism Centre Capital Campaign, said Quebec’s contribution “marks a momentous step forward in the history of Giant Steps. We wish to express our tremendous gratitude to the Quebec government. With the unwavering support of our donors and community, now bolstered by this generous public funding, we are ever closer to realizing the dream we’ve all hoped could one day become a reality.”

The organization’s announcement adds that the Take a Giant Step for Autism campaign “is now focusing on its final target of raising $10 million. The goal: to start construction of the Giant Steps Autism Centre in January 2022, with an anticipated move-in date of September 2023.”

The organization has also “asked the federal government to contribute to this ground-breaking project and hopes that it will help to change the lives of thousands of persons with autism for years to come.”

“We have assembled an outstanding team of volunteers who believe in this project and who are working hard to make it a reality,” said fellow Giant Steps Autism Centre Capital Campaign co-chair André Bourbonnais. “The autism community deserves more. It is time that the public and private sectors come together for one final push to impact the autism community for generations to come. It is time to Take a Giant Step for Autism.’’

Thomas Henderson, Director General of Giant Steps, said that “providing higher-quality, evidence-based educational and community services to more children and adults on the spectrum is an absolute necessity. With this funding today, we are one step closer to making our vision a reality.”

The organization’s statement says Giant Steps consulted with the community and experts, and the result is a project that will “transform the autism community and provide much-needed services throughout a person’s lifespan based on four pillars — an expanded school, an Adult Education and Employment centre, a Resource and Community centre, and a Research and Innovation centre.”

The project “was developed in conjunction with Société de développement Angus, an urban revitalization project located in the Rosemont district of Montreal.”

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