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Natural Resources Canada
October 14, 2010

Canada Helping to Rebuild Centre for Autistic Children in L’Aquila

L’AQUILA, ITALY — The Government of Canada is helping to rebuild the Il Cireneo Foundation’s Centre for Autistic Children in L’Aquila, Italy, through a contribution to the Quebec Wood Export Bureau (QWEB). The contribution was announced on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources, by the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), during a visit to the L’Aquila region. The Centre for Autistic Children was destroyed in a tragic earthquake that struck the area in April 2009.

Provided under Natural Resources Canada’s Large-scale Wood Demonstration Projects initiative, this $298,000 contribution will be used to erect a two-storey wood-frame building with just under 400 square metres of floor space that will serve as a day residence for approximately 25 autistic children. The building will be constructed by Demtec International, a factory-built housing manufacturing company based in Princeville, Quebec. 

“As Prime Minister Harper said during his visit, the people of Canada are proud to stand with the people of Italy as they rebuild after this tragic disaster,” said Minister Lebel. “The reconstruction of this centre using earthquake-resistant Canadian wood-frame building techniques will provide a safe haven for these vulnerable children.” 

“Initiatives of this type are beneficial to all of the parties concerned,” said Sylvain Labbé, QWEB President and CEO. “In addition to their knowledge of wood construction, local professionals can apply the kind of trimmings and finishing touches that will make the building blend into the country’s architectural fabric, while retaining the earthquake resistance characteristic of wood-frame construction.”

Totalling more than $368,000, the overall contribution by the governments of Canada and Quebec will cover the cost of manufacturing and transporting the structure, customs duties and professional fees for the design of the building and for engineering work to make sure it meets earthquake resistance standards. Funding from these partners in the project will also cover the cost of specialized labour to erect the building on the site.

Minister Lebel participated in an inauguration ceremony at the future site of the centre. Also present at the ceremony were Canada’s Ambassador to Italy, Mr. James Fox; Quebec’s Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, the Honourable Monique Gagnon-Tremblay; and a number of local dignitaries.

This project, financed jointly by Ronald McDonald House Charities Italy, the Sons of Italy Foundation, the Montecitorio Rotary Club Foundation, and through various other donations, demonstrates the spirit of cooperation and friendship that exists between Canada and Italy as part of the combined effort to rebuild the community infrastructure of the L’Aquila region.


Minister of State Denis Lebel, on behalf of Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis, today announced a contribution of $298,000 to the Quebec Wood Export Bureau for the reconstruction of a centre for autistic children in L’Aquila, Italy, which was destroyed in the tragic earthquake of April 2009.

Media may contact:

Richard Walker
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

Simon Bachand
Special Assistant
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Canada Economic Development

Simonetta d 'Aquino Allder
Media Officer
Embassy of Canada in Italy
39 06 85444 3252

The general public may contact:

Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EDT
Telephone: 613-995-0947
TTY: 613-996-4397
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The following media backgrounder are available at

  1. Large-scale Wood Demonstration Projects

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