Autism N.S. Executive director Cynthia Carroll said this was a historic day in N.S. (Healey photo)

BEDFORD: The first-of-its-kind in Nova Scotia Autism Action Plan announced by the province on Wednesday morning in Bedford is just the start, hopes the Executive Director of Autism Nova Scotia.

Cynthia Carroll realizes work on the action plan, something advocated for by young man Ethan Rekunyk, of Dartmouth when he raised the flag for Autism month with Premier Tim Houston last year, won’t become reality overnight.

This is just the beginning,” said Carroll near the end of the announcement inside a crowded room filled with supporters, media, parents, and those within the autism spectrum at Autism Nova Scotia’s offices in Bedford.

“This action plan is the start of multi-year work. It’s not all going to be done overnight, it’s going to be a journey.”

Families in East Hants, HRM, Fall River, and across N.S. will benefit from the action plan.


The Action Plan, which comes with a price tag of $200,000 which will go to Autism N.S. to help build the framework of it, marks a historic milestone for autistic individuals and families in the province.

It will identify existing services and initiatives for children, youth and adults on the autism spectrum and their families.

The plan will look at gaps in services and make recommendations for additional supports.

Ethan Rekunyk, of Dartmouth advocated for an Autism Action Plan to Premier Tim Houston last year. He speaks at the announcement where the province will create one. (Healey photo)

Rekunyk said May 15 was an important day.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction for people who are autistic like me in the province,” said the 14-year-old.

“I hope this plan will help recognize our talents and skills for companies and industry’s we want to work in.”


Brian Comer, Minister of Addictions and Mental Health, said the plan will see 10 provincial government departments work towards forming the plan.

“People with autism and their families deserve to be supported in this province – whether they are under five and just getting a diagnosis, or adults who need support at home or in the workplace,” said Comer.

Addictions and Mental Health Minister Brian Comer speaks at the announcement, saying how significant this is for families in N.S. (Healey photo)

“A provincial autism action plan will give us a clear picture of what supports are out there today so we can identify the gaps and work with our partners to fill them.”

It’s the first plan of its kind as well in Canada.

Carroll said the action plan provides the province a chance to be a leader.

“We have the opportunity to do something very unique and very different,” said Carroll.

The first meeting among stakeholders is scheduled for this Friday May 17.

It’s expected the plan will be released to the public by Spring of 2025, Comer said.

Brendan Maguire, MLA for Halifax Atlantic, and Minister of Community Services was on hand and spoke at Autism N.S. Bedford offices. (Healey photo)