Only two provinces in Canada, Ontario and New Brunswick, have legislation governing the vaccination of school children. Both provincial Acts contain legal exemptions for all vaccines required for school entry, and these can be accessed on line through our Legal Exemption Forms page. Manitoba currently has no vaccine regulations for measles vaccine (see below).
Health Canada States That Immunization is NOT Mandatory in Canada
“Unlike some countries, immunization is not mandatory in Canada; it cannot be made mandatory because of the Canadian Constitution. Only three provinces have legislation or regulations under their health-protection acts to require proof of immunization for school entrance. Ontario and New Brunswick require proof for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella immunization. In Manitoba, only measles vaccination is covered. [see note below] It must be emphasized that, in these three provinces, 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 – Volume: 23S4 – May 1997 — Canadian National Report on Immunization, 1996 Health Canada Website
[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 – 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 the ISPA Act stating “Statement of conscience or religious belief”]
The Canadian National Report on Immunizations statement above was published in the May 1997 Canada Communicable Diseases Report (CCDR) by Health Canada. After the creation of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in 2004, the CCDR was transferred to them. The website and subsequent CCDR reports carry the PHAC designation.