Our Story

We have grown from a grassroots charity to a provincial leader in adapted programming for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

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The inspiration behind the cause.

Canucks Autism Network (CAN) was founded in 2008 by Paolo and Clara Aquilini, Co-owners of the Vancouver Canucks. Together, they have a son on the autism spectrum, Christian.

After witnessing the lack of inclusion in the community, Paolo and Clara dreamed of a place where families with children on the autism spectrum could feel a sense of belonging. A place where Autistic individuals could build confidence and thrive.

In its first year, CAN delivered one adapted soccer program to a handful of Vancouver-based families. Today, the organization serves thousands of children, youth, and adults on the autism spectrum across BC.

Our programs range in focus from sports & rec for children to social, arts, employment, and mental health for youth and adults. Meanwhile, our training arm provides accessibility workshops and consultation across community sectors.

While our in-person impact extends across the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and the Interior, virtual programming and training allows us to reach all corners of the province and beyond.

While CAN has grown and evolved dramatically over the years, one thing has never changed: The dream of a brighter future for people on the autism spectrum. A future where every Autistic individual is understood, accepted and supported in all community spaces.

Discover CAN

We believe every community should take action to include and support individuals on the autism spectrum.

See the work that we're doing across BC.

Discover sports and rec programs for children on the spectrum. Learn about community rec, arts, employment, and mental health programs for Autistic youth and adults.

Explore CAN Programs