Raise Your Hand: NL Election 2019 Resources

Issues That Matter

On Thursday May 16, 2019 Newfoundlanders & Labradorians head to the polls for a provincial election. Each of us has the choice to support representatives we believe will help make the best decisions for our province. This includes decisions about how our province supports people on the autism spectrum and their families. You may be interested in starting a conversation with your local candidate to gauge their understanding and support for issues that matter to the autism community. Our 2018 Position Statement Booklet may help guide your conversations and questions.

Letters to Leaders

Letter to Leader Dwight Ball
Liberal Response Letter to Autism Society, NL

Letter to Leader Ches Crosbie
PC Response Letter to Autism Society, NL 

Letter to Leader Allison Coffin
NDP Response Letter to Autism Society, NL

Our Downloadable Resources

Download our Position Statement Booklet (PDF)
Candidate Question Guide

Election Resources

Liberal Party Platform
Progressive Conservative Party Platform
New Democratic Party Platform

Elections Newfoundland & Labrador
Official Candidate List
Elections Newfoundland & Labrador Accessibility Resources 


NL Votes 2019: Provincial Autism Action Plan must keep channels open, support group CEO says (Gulf News)

ASNL Operations are Unsustainable

Program, Service and Staff Cuts Coming at Autism Society NL

Autism Society, Newfoundland & Labrador (ASNL), cannot sustain present operations with current revenue streams. Government itself is in a difficult financial situation and seems unable to increase the annual core fund, which provides 50% of ASNL’s budget. Government has helped reduce past deficits, streamlined some ASNL operations and just recently provided rent-free space for ASNL’s South-Central Regional Office in Grand Falls-Windsor. ASNL’s fundraised revenue provides the other 50% of budgeted funds. However, that fundraised revenue has dropped 50% annually ($300,000) since 2016. That annual $300,000 deficit, driven by the province’s economic downturn, is crippling ASNL since 2016.

ASNL provides critical supports – social programs for children, youth and adults; navigation help for families; community engagement; advocacy; and job readiness/employment programs – for those on the spectrum and their families. NL has the highest incidence rate for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Canada, at 1:57. ASNL delivers specific services that government and others do not provide for the ASD community. Program participants have more than tripled since 2013. Community engagement reached almost 20,000 people in 2018, including more than 1200 First Responders since 2016.

ASNL does not want to abandon any of those we serve, in any region of NL. We make a real difference in the lives of those affected by ASD. But if the lost fundraised revenues cannot be replaced quickly, there is no option but to cut programs and services. Staff layoffs will mean the loss of vital supports for the ASD community.

Numerous and varied fundraising activities and events still occur. They net approximately $325,000 that helps cover some of the cost of delivering programs and services. But that amount is 50% less than it was; it is not enough. The core fund from government has not increased since 2012 and fundraised revenue has declined significantly since 2016. Costs for operations and staff have increased.

Autism Society NL needs $300,000 in additional funding annually, but it does not have one major corporate sponsor. Owning your own property and facilities, and employing trained, experienced staff to deliver programs and services to nearly 400 participants each semester is proving costly. Unfortunately, reductions will negatively impact participants, families, classrooms, community recreation facilities, employers, and the community at large.

ASNL makes a real difference in the lives of people affected by autism. Without a community partnership with one or more corporate sponsors, and additional investment each year, access to programs, supports and services in our ASD community will continue to become more and more limited for children, youth, adults, their families and caregivers.

Scott Crocker

Chief Executive Officer

Autism Society, Newfoundland & Labrador

Annual General Meeting 2018 Details

Saturday, November 3rd  
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM


St. John’s Gushue Hall

Prince Philip Drive 

*Please note: you can park in Area 15. To view the parking map, please click here


Grand Falls-Windsor ASNL’s South Central Office

7 High Street  


Clarenville – ASNL’s Eastern Regional Office

105 Manitoba Drive

*Please note:  location can be found around the back of the building to the left of the parking lot.


Corner Brook – Grenfell Campus, AS 375

20 University Drive


ASNL is seeking to fill two (2) vacancies on its Board of Directors:

  • 2 Certified Financial Officers came forward to seek ONE Treasurer seat; an election to choose the Treasurer for a 3-year term will occur at the AGM.
  • 2 candidates came forward to seek ONE At Large seat; an election to choose the At Large Director for a 3-year term will occur at the AGM.

Please note:

  • Members of ASNL and the public may attend the AGM in your region.
  • To vote at AGM, you must have a current ASNL membership and dues had to have been paid and up-to-date for Fiscal 2019 (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019) not later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct 12, 2018.
  • Staff at each location will have a membership list showing the names of members who are eligible to vote

For more information, please contact Administrative Assistant, Cathy Drake, at (709)722-2803, Ext. 221, or visit ASNL’s website at


The two candidates for election as the one Treasurer are Paolo Mascasin and Kristine Strickland.

Paolo Mascarin (B. Comm, CPA, CGA)

Three years ago, my eldest son was diagnosed with ASD.  Having access to the resources and knowledgeable people of the ASNL has made this journey so much easier.

I graduated from Memorial University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and in 2011 became a CPA, CGA.  I held two roles when working with the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board.  As Compliance Officer I was responsible for auditing corporations across NL, and as Senior Financial Analyst I dealt with short and long-term budgeting reports and analysis, government reporting, and approval of daily financial transactions.

In 2013, I began working as Financial Officer with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.  This role required the preparing and drafting of monthly financial statements and presenting these and any budget variances to the Finance & Property Committee.  It also required presenting year-end audited financial statements and reports to the executive and delegates.

I moved back to St. John’s in 2015 and have absorbed the full-time responsibilities of raising two young boys.  I remain active as Treasurer for the Commerce Class of 2004 and have organizational roles in several recreational sports teams.

I understand the value of ASNL and I hope you will allow me the opportunity to participate and contribute to this great community.


Kristine M Strickland

Education and Work Experience

I am a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) with a Bachelor of Commerce, Honours (HBCom) degree from Laurentian University. I am a licensed public accountant in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, currently operating my own public practice firm. I have several years experience in public practice including working with various not-for-profit organizations primarily as external auditor.

Charitable/Not-for-Profit Board Experience

Current:           Board of Directors – Treasurer – Empower, the Disability Resource Centre

Previous:          Board of Directors – Secretary – Financial Management Institute (NL Chapter)

I have also served on various fundraising and grant writing committees in Alberta for specialized private schools for children with autism.

Reason for Interest in Serving ASNL

Our late son Joshua was diagnosed with autism at 26 months old in 2001 and for ten years we navigated the support systems available in Alberta until his passing in 2011. During that time, we were strong advocates for services for him and other families, both within and outside the education system.

I would be honored with an opportunity to contribute to ASNL on a professional level, as needed, and share my personal experiences as someone who has needed the services that ASNL provides.


Two candidates seeking election as an At Large Director are Dave Collins & Shannon O’Dea.

Dave Collins

  • Attended MUN 1969-1972 BA Ed
  • Worked Central Dairies/ Farmers Dairy 1972-2013
  • Various Roles
  • Vice President and General Manager 1983-2013
  • VP Corporate Operations 2008-2013
  • Interim CEO 2003
  • Chair, NL Dairy Processors Association, 1996-2013
  • Vice Chair, School Milk Foundation, 1992-2013
  • President, Atlantic Dairy Council, 2011-2013
  • Chair, Goulds Arena Committee, 1992-2009.
  • Treasurer / President/ Past President, Brigus Historical and Conservation Society, 2014-2018
  • President and Owner, Five Brothers Artisan Cheese Inc., 2014-present
  • President, Collins Management Services Ltd., 2013 – present

Shannon O’Dea

  1. Education and Training
  • MUN: Masters in Counselling Psychology
  • California Southern University: Psychology Doctorate (PsyD): Clinical Psychology (in progress)
  • Professional development certificates/workshops on mental health related topics, including related to ASD.
  1. Work Experience
  • Behaviour Management Specialist (BMS): Eastern Health, 2008-present
  • Psychologist (provisional): H. Khalili, PhD and Associates Inc., January 2016- June 2018
  1. Experience with ASNL and/or other non-profit and/or charitable boards

I have experience working with ASNL through my work as a BMS. Many of my clients have been participants in programming.

I am currently on a committee examining mental health services in NL. This committee developed from the ‘Towards Recovery Action Plan’ from the provincial government.

  1. Reason for interest in serving ASNL

I believe I can bring a unique lens to the Board of Directors. I have experience working with individuals with ASD (including families/support systems) from children to adults. I also have a personal connection as my nephew has a diagnosis of ASD.

I focused my doctoral dissertation on examining service needs of psychologists to best serve individuals with ASD and co-occurring mental health needs.  I am one of the few counsellors in St. John’s who serve this population. Being on the board will be another way for me to be involved in the work I have been passionate about for many years.

12 Returning Members of the Board of Directors – Serving 1st, 2nd or 3rd Year of 3-year terms

  1. Edward Byrne
  2. Angela Decker
  3. Karen Flynn
  4. Trudy Goold
  5. Colin Hodder
  6. Anthony Jackman
  7. Mark LaCosta
  8. Kimberly Maich
  9. Patrick Martin
  10. Shawna Matthews
  11. Neala Quigley
  12. Carolyn Rideout

Harvest of Hope

We invite you to come grow with us!

Our Second Annual Harvest of Hope is on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

We invite you to come grow with us! Enjoy an evening of great food, music and friends while helping us reach our fundraising target and provide more support to those affected by ASD.

To purchase your ticket(s) online now please CLICK HERE

Dress casual, come with friends! Celebrate our Second Annual Harvest of Hope, at the Elaine Dobbin Centre for Autism on Saturday, September 22, 2018, from 7:30pm – midnight.

Mingle, socialize, renew acquaintances. Support ASNL’s mission by participating in silent and live auctions.

Chef Brenda Lee of The Pantry Café serves local fresh food and Hors D’oeuvres provided by Good Roots Gardening. Tasty dessert chocolate is provided by The Newfoundland Chocolate  Company. Complimentary champagne and wine is provided by Charton-Hobbs; and Quidi Vidi Brewery provides complimentary craft beer. Guest entertainers are The Once, and the evening ends with a dance.

You can support ASNL by purchasing individual $300 tickets for yourself, family, friends, top employees and/or preferred clients. Each ticket purchase receives a $200 tax receipt.

If interested in sponsoring this event, please review our Sponsorship Opportunities.

To reserve your tickets or commit to sponsorship, please contact:

Jennifer Brown

Coordinator, Fundraising & Events


T: 722-2803 ext. 232


Thank you to our Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Harvest Moon Sponsor

Golden Harvesters



Exciting Program Changes in Fall 2018!

What’s New?

Social Group

Starting in Fall 2018, ASNL will be offering a new social learning opportunity called Social Group!  Social Group is a new initiative that will replace the previous Social Club and Social Thinking Programs.

While Social Group still provides an opportunity for children, youth, and adults to socialize with their peers and make new friends, a bigger emphasis will be placed on promoting community integration.  Some activities will be centre-based, but many more will be focused on trying out new opportunities for fun with peers in the community!

This program will still be held in small groups of 4-8 peers for 1-2 hours (depending on age), with present ASNL staff and volunteers facilitating activities and mentor participants.  This program will run from September 2018 through June 2019.

Registration opens Tuesday, August 14th at 12:00 pm at .

Family Events

We are adding more family events so that members and their families can participate in fun activities with other families! These events will occur approximately once a month and will provide opportunities for families to connect with others through a variety of different activities.

No registration required, just ensure your membership and contact info is up to date to get all the details about when and where!  Do you have a suggestion for Family Events? We’d love to hear it!

Adult Meetups

We are going to be scheduling Adult Meet-Ups for those adults who require support when accessing community activities.  These events will occur approximately once a month and will provide opportunities for adults on the spectrum, and their caregiver or support person, to join others in a community activity.

No registration required, just ensure your membership and contact info is up to date to get all the details about when and where!  Do you have a suggestion for Family Events? We’d love to hear it!

Why these changes?

In following with national program trends, ASNL has transformed its Social Club and Social Thinking Programs into the new Social Group Program.  This program continues to facilitate support and friendships among those with ASD and their families, while helping build bridges for even greater community integration.

Please note this is not a clinical social skills intervention; it is a program that provides opportunities for social growth, peer support, and community integration.

ASNL continues to listen to its members and provide supports and services that address existing gaps.  Families and individuals are looking for ways to support others and try new activities in the community so we are adding Family Events and Adult Meetups for Fall 2018.  These services are not limited to the metro region – if you live outside of the St. John’s area and would like to see Family Events or Adult Meetups in your area please let us know!

For further information about these changes please contact Sarah White

Jake’s Show N’ Shine

Do you love cars? Join Ray Griffiths, his son Jake and their amazingly supportive community on August 25th, 2018 for Jake’s Show N’ Shine in Dunville! This car show is all about families spending a day together in support of Autism Society, Newfoundland & Labrador, passionate car owners, games, a BBQ pit hosted by Jake himself and so much more!

For more information and to register please click HERE


The Credit Union Walk-A-Thon

NLCU Charitable Foundation Is Hosting it’s 15th Annual NLCU CFC Walk-A-Thon on Sunday, June 3, 2018

We are beyond excited to have been chosen as the NLCU’s Charity of Choice for their 15th Annual Walk-A-Thon on June 3rd in areas across the province! Funds raised at this event are in support of our Classroom Awareness Program, where we educate children of all ages, across the province, about Autism Spectrum Disorder. We have educated thousands of children from Kindergarten through High School and, by doing so, we are creating an entire generation of Newfoundlanders & Labradorians who are Autism Aware.

We would love to see parents, friends, and supporters at these walks. The more the merrier! Have a look at the list of locations provided below and please mark it in your calendar!

Date: Sunday, June 3, 2018

Time: 10 a.m.

Location: 8 locations province-wide

Metro Area St. John’s – Pippy Park
Carbonear – Community Civic Centre Boardwalk
Clarenville – Shoal Harbor Walking Trail
Gander – Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park
Grand Falls-Windsor – NLCU, 1 Pinsent Drive
Corner Brook – NLCU, 38 Main Street
Stephenville – Ned’s Pond Trail
Labrador City – Tanya Lake (at the Scout Lodge) Labrador City

Can’t make it to an event? You can simply donate online by clicking here


Needs Assessment

Needs Assessment Survey Autism Community, Newfoundland Labrador Submitted to: Autism Society Newfoundland and Labrador October 2015

To view please click HERE

New Day and New Coordinator for St. John’s Drop-in Playgroup

Where: Elaine Dobbin Centre for Autism
When: Each Tuesday from 9:30-10:30 (starts January 16th)
Ages: 2-Kindergarden Entry (parent or caregiver must attend with their child)
Cost: Free

Drop-In Playgroup provides parents and newly-diagnosed children an opportunity to play and interact in a safe and supported environment. Families can meet others and share experiences while the children can interact, at their comfort level, with peers. ASNL staff help facilitate socialization and engagement. No registration required. For more information please contact Alyssa Clowe at