April 2, 2014 -

Equitable Life of Canada is once again partnering with Autism Speaks™ Canada to bring Walk Now for Autism Speaks™ to Waterloo-Wellington for its third year.

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 1st.

"We are extremely excited to have Equitable Life of Canada return for a second year as Local Presenting Sponsor of our Waterloo-Wellington Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada," said Jill Farber, Executive Director, Autism Speaks Canada. "The tremendous success of our first annual Waterloo-Wellington Walk would not have been possible without the support of Equitable Life of Canada and its employees. Our Walks bring thousands of participants together for a day that is both fun and meaningful, while generating vital funds for autism research and family services."

"Autism spectrum disorders affect thousands of families around the world, across Canada and right here in our community," 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 again this year."

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, a fundraising bake sale and a "Follow the footsteps to win" contest to increase employees' knowledge about the autism spectrum.

For more information about Walk Now for Autism Speaks, or to register for or donate to the Waterloo-Wellington Walk, visit: www.WalkNowForAutismSpeaks.ca/waterloowellington.

About Autism

Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disorder in North America. One in 68 will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Autism is more prevalent than paediatric cancer, childhood 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 disorder, and there is no known cure.

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, family services, awareness and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments, services, while simultaneously acting as advocates for those affected by autism and raising awareness about autism spectrum disorder.

About Equitable Life of Canada

Canadians have turned to Equitable Life since 1920 to protect what matters most. We work with independent advisors across Canada to offer individual insurance, savings and retirement and group benefits solutions to meet your needs.

But we're not your typical financial services company. We have the knowledge, experience and ability to find solutions that work for you. We're friendly, caring and interested in helping. And we're owned by our participating policyholders, not shareholders. So we can focus on your interests and provide you with personalized service, security and wellbeing.

Media contacts:
Patti McKague
Director, Corporate Communications
Equitable Life of Canada

Carrie Habert
Communications Manager
Autism Speaks Canada
416.362.6227 Ext 208