June 11-12, 2021


Virtual Event


Over 30 speakers and panelists


Visit the Exhibit Hall

About the Event

Horizon 21 is a bilingual (English and French), interactive, virtual event bringing together various stakeholders and leaders from around the world to discuss the current state of autism-inclusive hiring practices. The latest research on improving employment outcomes for autistic individuals as well as the current programs and services available in Quebec and Canada will be highlighted. Lived experiences of neurodivergent individuals will be at the forefront of the event and also featured in Navigate the New Normal, a series of interviews that took place during the COVID-19.

Also featured will be a discussion on the results and best practices from Polaris Enterprise, a Giant Steps industry-based Adult Education and Employment program, in partnership with Loblaw Companies Ltd, Wagar Adult Education Centre and the Transforming Autism Care Consortium. A virtual photo exhibit will provide a glimpse into the 9-month program, and share some of key moments.

Presenting Sponsors

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsor

View the Program Guide (click image)

Polaris Enterprise

Polaris Enterprise is a multi-faceted project that includes an industry-based, bilingual, 9-month employment readiness and vocational program to prepare autistic adults or adults with an intellectual disability, aged 21 and older, for general employment as well as for job-specific employment with Loblaw Companies Ltd or a similar industry setting, post-program.

The current cohort is finishing up and we will hear from the various stakeholders on how the program went – lessons learned, challenges, and best practices.

A Giant Steps Montreal initiative, in collaboration with:


June 11, 2021

8:00 am (EDT)

Event begins - Lobby, exhibit hall and interactive photo exhibit are open.

8:30 am - 9:30 am

Keynote - No Greatness Without Goodness: How a Father’s Love Changed a Company and Sparked a Movement

  Randy Lewis - Retired Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Logistics, Walgreens

Randy Lewis is the Founder of the NOGWOG Disability Initiative to assist businesses and communities developing and launching disability hiring programs. As Walgreens Senior Vice President of Supply Chain & Logistics, he pioneered a model that resulted in a more inclusive and effective workforce for the company, improved the wellbeing of the surrounding community, and has had a positive impact for all those involved, with and without disabilities. Today, almost 20% of Walgreens logistics workforce is composed of people with disabilities who perform the same jobs, earn the same pay and are held to the same performance standards as fellow team members.

Considered the “gold standard of disability employment” by the National Governors Association, the program has been subsequently replicated in companies both in the US and abroad including Procter & Gamble, UPS, Lowe’s, Meijer, Marks and Spencer. Recognized as a “visionary of disability employment advocacy” domestically and internationally, Lewis is a sought after speaker on the lessons learned that apply to all business and community leaders who seek to make a difference.

9:30 am - 11:00 am

Lessons Learned from the Polaris Enterprise Pilot Project (Industry-based ASD Adult Education and Employment Initiative)

Various stakeholders from Giant Steps, Polaris Enterprise Program, Loblaw Companies Ltd, Wagar Adult Education Centre and Transforming Autism Care Consortium

June 12, 2021

8:30 am (EDT)

Event begins - Lobby, auditorium, exhibit hall and interactive photo exhibit are open.

10:00 am - 11:00 am

Keynote - Entrepreneurship as a Viable Employment Pathway for Autistics

  Wanda Deschamps - Founder and Principal, Liberty Co

Wanda Deschamps - founder and principal of Liberty Co - seeks to increase the participation level of the neurodiverse population in the workforce with a special emphasis on autism due to Wanda's own diagnosis at midlife. She enjoys writing and speaking under the banner of the Inclusion Revolution, a worldwide movement launched in 2018 to spearhead broader thinking about disability, especially disability employment. Wanda is also the catalyst behind the #Women4Women collective focused on gender equality through supporting other women. Combining these two goals provides an avenue for Wanda to be an advocate for women with autism, including as a participant in research into autistic women's experiences in the workplace.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Documentary Series - Navigate the New Normal - Interviews with people on the autism spectrum during COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

o. You do not need to download or install any software to participate. You only need to have access to the internet.
We recommend using either Google Chrome or Firefox.
Your login details will be emailed to you ahead of the event. You can use these details to access the online event.
The event will remain open 24/7 for 30 days. Therefore, you can attend whenever it’s convenient for you during this period of time. We understand your schedule may not allow you to attend all of the live sessions of the event.
Yes. Like any physical event, we will have a swag bag for you! You can add all of the documents available to the online swag bag in your account and then email them to yourself or share items with your colleagues by simply entering their email.
Yes! Please invite your friends and colleagues to join the event with you! You can simply share the link to this page, and they can register at their convenience.