Exemptions from vaccinations

Vaccinations are NOT mandatory in Canada. “Unlike some countries, immunization is not mandatory in Canada; it cannot be made mandatory because of the Canadian Constitution. Three provinces require proof of immunization for school entrance: Ontario and New Brunswick for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella immunization; Manitoba for measles. But, exceptions are permitted on medical or religious grounds and reasons of conscience; legislation and regulations must not be interpreted to imply compulsory immunization.” (Immunization in Canada; May, 1997; Vol 23S4 and Canadian National Report on Immunization; 1996).

This means that nobody in Canada can be forced to receive a vaccination. In some cases, nursery schools, daycares, and other schools which are privately owned and operated can demand vaccination for enrollment. But publically-funded schools and daycares cannot.

Furthermore, Canadian Medical Law clearly states that healthcare recipients must be informed of all significant risks posed by any invasive medical procedure that carries a risk of injury or death. Vaccination is such a procedure; every Canadian must have received and understood all the information that is pertinent to the vaccination(s) to which they consent.

Update May 2016:  Please NoteLegislation in Ontario – Ontario has introduced Bill 198 – Immunization of School Pupils Amendment Act, 2016.   Background: Ontario Strengthening Provincial Immunization Program – Actions Include Stronger Requirements for School Vaccine Exemptions“Under the proposed legislative changes, parents and guardians who are considering not to immunize their children would need to participate in an education session delivered by their local public health unit in order to obtain a vaccine exemption for non-medical reasons. If passed, the proposed changes to the Immunization School Pupils Act would come into effect for the 2016-17 school year.”    See our Take Action page for further details.

[2014 Please Note – Manitoba no longer has legislation for school entry vaccination for measles, vaccination is voluntary in Manitoba. Please see this link at the Province of Manitoba’s website: Do we have to get immunized? – No, immunizations are voluntary in Manitoba.]

[2014 Please Note – New Ontario Regulation coming into force July 1, 2014 – Meningococcal disease, Pertussis, Varicella added to the Designated Diseases List, exemptions will continue to be available for these vaccines. See “Statement of conscience or religious belief”]


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