March 29, 2012 -

Equitable Life of Canada announced today that it is partnering with Autism Speaks™ Canada to bring Walk Now for Autism Speaks™ to Waterloo-Wellington for the first time.

Already held in more than 80 cities across North America, Walk Now for Autism Speaks is a fun-filled, family-friendly event held annually to raise funds for autism research and family services, and to increase awareness about autism. The three-kilometre walk will be held in Waterloo Park on Sunday, June 24th. The fundraising goal for the Waterloo-Wellington Walk is $50,000.

"We are very excited to have Equitable Life of Canada as the Presenting Sponsor for our first annual Waterloo-Wellington Walk," said Suzanne Lanthier, Executive Director of Autism Speaks Canada. "Walk Now for Autism Speaks is our single most powerful force to fund vital research that will lead us to the answers we need, raise money to support family services programs and initiatives and heighten awareness about autism and the issues facing the local and national autism communities."

"Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder, affecting thousands of Canadian families," said Ron Beettam, President and CEO of Equitable Life of Canada. "Equitable Life is proud to partner with Autism Speaks Canada to bring this important fundraising event to Waterloo-Wellington for the first time."

To help raise awareness for autism and build support for the Waterloo-Wellington Walk, Equitable Life is holding a month-long "Light It Up Blue" campaign. Starting on April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, Equitable Life will be joining organizations and institutions around the world by illuminating its Head Office in blue light to raise awareness about autism. Equitable Life encourages other organizations and citizens in Waterloo-Wellington to "Light It Up Blue" at their homes and offices.

In addition, Equitable Life has planned several fundraising and awareness raising initiatives for its employees throughout the month, including: "Blue Mondays" casual dress days and a "Decorate Your Workspace Blue Contest". Equitable Life's fundraising goal is $30,000.

For more information about Walk Now for Autism Speaks, or to register for or donate to the Waterloo-Wellington Walk, visit:


About Equitable Life of Canada
As one of Canada's largest mutual life insurance companies, Equitable Life is dedicated solely to its policyholders. The Company is focused on providing them with high-quality service, security and well-being.

Since 1920, Canadians have been depending on Equitable Life for financial protection. The Company offers a wide selection of competitive Individual Life and Health, Group Life and Health, and Individual Savings and Retirement products to meet the needs of its large and growing base of participating policyholders.

About Autism Speaks Canada
Together with Autism Speaks, the founding organization in the United States, Autism Speaks Canada has grown into North America's largest autism science, awareness and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

About Autism
Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disorder among children in North America. One out of every 110 children - one in 70 boys - will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is more prevalent than pediatric cancer, AIDS and diabetes combined. Rates of diagnosis have increased 57% from 2002 to 2006 and an astounding 600% in the last 20 years. Autism is a lifelong condition, and there is no known medical detection or cure.

Media contacts:
Don Bisch
Director, Corporate Communications

Suzanne Lanthier
Executive Director, Autism Speaks Canada