Graphic with the CanFASD logo saying September is FASD Awareness. Wear red to celebrate and raise awareness. Next to the wording is a pair of red sneakers with the shoelaces untied and the hashtags #RedShoesRock

September 9th is International FASD Day

First celebrated in 1999, FASD day is devoted to raising awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) to improve prevention of FASD and diagnosis and support for individuals with FASD.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong disability that affects the brain and body of people who were exposed to alcohol in the womb. Each person with FASD has both strengths and challenges and will need special supports to help them succeed with many different parts of their daily lives.

Countdown to FASD Day!

FASD Awareness Month

Throughout the month of September, events are held across Canada and around the world in recognition of FASD Day. But FASD awareness initiatives deserve more than one day of focus.

The Government of Canada officially recognized September as FASD Awareness Month in 2020. At CanFASD, we celebrate both FASD Day and FASD Month and encourage communities to continue to work towards increased awareness of FASD throughout the whole month of September and beyond.

2023 Theme is Uniting Our Strengths: Finding Solutions Together

The theme for this year’s FASD awareness month is Uniting our Strengths: Finding Solutions Together.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a very complex issue that intersects with so many different fields. Our theme, Uniting our Strengths: Finding Solutions Together, goes beyond framing FASD as an individual issue, as the impacts of FASD matter to the whole community. We all have a role to play and need to work together to find solutions.

We have, and continue to see, real progress and change for FASD and FASD prevention in Canada. Many organizations and advocates have created innovative solutions to how they create and deliver services and supports. This outside-the-box thinking is one of our community’s biggest strengths.

During FASD Month, let’s talk about these innovations and services. Show how you are making a difference. When we share effective solutions, it shows problems are solvable. Highlighting the innovative and strengths-based solutions is one way we can support and raise awareness around FASD and FASD prevention.

We invite you to celebrate and share your innovations this FASD Month using the hashtag #FASDMonth2023! Share how you are working with other community members, partners, and organizations to improve policy, practice, and awareness of FASD. Let’s change the conversation and show how united we can make a difference!

Stock image: posed by model
Stock image: posed by model

History of FASD Day

FASD Awareness Day was first started by three parent advocates from Canada and the United States. They wanted to bring attention to FASD and the impact prenatal exposure to alcohol has on fetal development. They chose to recognize FASD Day on the ninth day of the ninth month to highlight the importance of going alcohol free for the full nine months of pregnancy. The first day was celebrated on 9/9/99. Since then, FASD Day has become a global movement, with countries from all around the world participating.

Red Shoes Rock

Red Shoes Rock is an incredible grassroots movement that has gained international recognition. The idea behind Red Shoes Rock is simple: wear red shoes at FASD events to bring attention to this disability.

Red shoes became a symbol for FASD awareness after Canadian educator and advocate, RJ Formanek, wore red shoes on an international stage to talk about FASD. For him, wearing red shoes are a symbol of power and strength.

“Red shoes were critical to my narrative, they were the key to it all. They were all about being different… They spoke of speed, of freedom of thought and being different, and red running shoes with the power suit sent a message out there to the world.”

– RJ Formanek

The Red Shoes Rock movement started in 2013 and grew as more community members got involved to increase visibility. Dedicated to making a positive impact on the world, the organizers continue to collaborate with organizations and communities around the world. Read more about Red Shoes Rock here.

This FASD Month, wear red shoes and help bring attention to FASD. Don’t have red shoes? No worries! Add a red shirt or pants to your outfit instead. Be sure to share on social media using the hashtag #RedShoesRock.

Canada Rocks Red for FASD in 2023

Along with community members, buildings and monuments across Canada will also be rocking red in September. This year, iconic Canadian monuments and landmarks will be lighting up red on September 9th in honour of FASD Awareness Day. Check out our full list to find a participating monument near you.

Close up of person in red shoes standing in grass


Attend an Event

Many community members host awareness walks, community lunches, and/or virtual and in-personal events in honour of FASD Awareness Day. Check out your local or regional FASD organization to find an event near you or take a look at our list of events!

Are you hosting an event in Canada? Tell us what, when, and where. We will share it on our channels to help community members get involved.

Rock Your Red Shoes

Wear your red shoes on FASD Day, throughout FASD month, and at local events. Be part of a global community that is bringing a voice to those impacted by FASD. Share your red shoes on social media using the hashtag #RedShoesRock.

Watch Canada Light Up Red for FASD

Monuments and landmarks across Canada will be lighting up red on September 9th in honour of FASD Awareness Day. Grab your friends and family members to go see the lights. Share with the hashtag #FASDMonth2023.


Whether you’re an expert in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or just you’ve just heard the term “FASD” for the first time, there’s always more to learn. Here are a few key resources to look at this FASD Month:

Foundations in FASD Online Course

Balancing the Story of FASD

Strengths Among Individuals with FASD


Donate to CanFASD or other FASD organizations that are working hard to improve the health and wellbeing of Canadians. If you are unable to make a financial contribution, donate your time and attention to this cause. Volunteer with local organizations and attend FASD month events in your community.


These resources were last updated on July 20, 2023.

The work doesn’t stop after September.

Help us continue to raise awareness of FASD in Canada!