Only two provinces in Canada have legislation governing the vaccination of school children, Ontario and New Brunswick. Both provincial Acts contain legal exemptions for all vaccines required for school entry, and these can be accessed on line through the links provided below. Manitoba no longer has regulations for measles vaccine (see below).
Provincial Vaccine Exemptions Available
For Ontario Daycare Exemptions – See our Daycare page for further details.
For School Age Children in Ontario, the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 87, Protecting Patients Act in May of 2017. This legislation states that parents must attend an “education session” prior to obtaining an exemption for Conscience or Religion for their child.
Contact your local health unit for information on the “education sessions” in your area. The education session must be completed prior to signing your exemption form as the affidavit states, “I have completed the required immunization education session as demonstrated by submitting a copy of the vaccine education certificate.”
Definitions & Regulations – Immunization of School Pupils Act, Ontario
- Immunization of School Pupils Act R.R.O. 1990, REGULATION 645 – Designated diseases covered under the Act are diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal, and varicella.
A new exemption form comes into effect on September 1, 2017 and is available to download from the Ontario Central Forms Repository.
Ontario parents are very concerned with the wording of the new September 1, 2017 vaccine exemption form also known as a Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief. The new exemption form comprises 2 pages. Because the name of the student and parent’s exemption declaration are on two separate pages, confusion has arisen as to whether signing the “Affidavit” on page 2 also means the parent agrees with the “Risk of not being vaccinated” statement embedded on page 1, part of which reads as follows:
“With the decision to delay or refuse vaccines, you are accepting responsibility that you are putting your child’s health and even life at risk.”
The second page is clearly titled “Affidavit” and contains the wording of the oath a parent must sign, get notarized and submit to their local Public Health Unit in order to exempt their child from any or all vaccines for designated diseases listed in the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA).
We have sought legal advice on this. The legal opinion we received indicated that the affidavit signature only covers the oath on page 2. The government’s risk statement on page 1 is separate from the Affidavit. The law allows for an objection to the ISPA vaccination requirements and that is what page 2 is for. Even though it is awkward that the pupil’s name appears on page 1 and is separate from the parent’s oath on page 2, it could be viewed that the parent objects not only to the requirements of the Act, but also to the government’s caution on page 1.
The legal opinion also suggested that for “clarity and peace of mind”, parents who are concerned that the risk statement on page 1 is self incriminating, could cross out the risk statement, initial and date the change with wording to the effect that the risk statement is not part of the affidavit. The legal opinion cautioned however, that this might cause the paperwork to be rejected. That is, the public health office may refuse to accept forms that have been altered.
Parents who choose to cross out the risk statement, may wish to have another page 1 with them that does not have any changes. Then if the changed page 1 is rejected, they can offer the unchanged page 1 to file with to their signed and affirmed affidavit.
We believe it is important for parents to claim their right, guaranteed by law, to choose which vaccines their child will be subjected to. Unless we actively protect and preserve our rights, we risk losing them.
VCC Response: 2017 Ontario Vaccination Exemption Form (16 page PDF)
Getting your Exemption Form Signed
The exemption forms must be signed and stamped by a Notary or Commissioner of Oaths, “Commissioners of Oaths are: Regional Clerk or Deputy Regional Clerk; City Clerk or Deputy Clerk; Treasurers or Deputy Treasurers of municipalities;[check your local municipal office] Justices of the Peace (for items of a legal nature); Lawyers; MP; MPP; [call your local MP or MPP’s office] Licensed Paralegals; Police Chiefs; some staff at the Service Ontario [Please Click here to see *** note below if you will be using Service Ontario], Government Information Centre are Commissioners”.
Most health units require the original signed form, and will not accept photocopies or faxes. Parents are getting two original forms notarized so that they can retain an original for their files.
Niagara Region Public Health provides this advice for getting your form signed:
- “The affidavit must be signed and stamped by a commissioner of oath, notary public or a justice of the peace
- The Commissioner for Taking Affidavit must print their name (lawyers, print law society number), full address, telephone number, title and seal if available
- Niagara Region Public Health cannot legally accept a fax or photocopy of the affidavit. If you require an original for your personal files, have the commissionaire complete two forms.
- Please be advised that if you move to another public health unit area at a future date, you may be required to complete another Affidavit at that time
Commissioner of Oaths
A Commissioner of Oath is a person authorized to take your oath or solemn affirmation when you sign an affidavit or a statutory declaration.
- Commissioners of Oaths are: Regional Clerk or Deputy Regional Clerk; City Clerk or Deputy Clerk; Treasurers or Deputy Treasurers of municipalities; Justices of the Peace (for items of a legal nature); Lawyers; MP; MPP; Licensed Paralegals; Police Chiefs; some staff at the Service Ontario [see note at the bottom of this page] , Government Information Centre are Commissioners
- Some Commissioners will provide the service at no cost, others may charge a fee
- Multiple pieces of photo ID may also be required”
Link to Ontario Medical Exemption Form (must be completed by a physician or nurse practitioner)
If you will be using your MPP to sign your form, call ahead as some Ontario MPPs refuse to sign exemption forms including:
See New Brunswick Public Health Act and regulations 2009 Sections 12(1) 12(2) and 12(3)
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Policy 706 Proof of Immunization
Exemption Forms (Medical and Parental Objection on same form)
- English – Immunization Exemption Form for School Entry (PDF)
- French – Annexe A – Formulaire d’exemption à l’immunisation pour l’entrée à l’école (PDF)
- Immunization Exemption Form for Day Care (PDF)
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.
The rest of Canadian provinces have not enacted legislation requiring vaccination of school children, and hence have no legal exemption forms available. However parents are often told by school officials and medical people, “It’s the law – your child can’t go to school without the vaccines”. Health officials often use these type of intimidation tactics to achieve maximum vaccine compliance. Intimidation and threats violate the baseline medical ethic of Informed Consent.
Unless you know your legal right to refuse vaccines and to exercise your right to Informed Consent, you and your children are vulnerable to coercion by vaccine officials. The widespread belief that vaccination is mandatory pervades all levels of society and ignorance of legally available exemptions is pervasive. Media articles reinforce the misconception of mandatory vaccine requirements, and often omit information about the availability of vaccine exemptions in news reports.
Health Canada states that “immunization is not mandatory in Canada”
For additional exemption information and sample letters go to Vaccination Liberation — Canada Letters.
For U.S. vaccine exemptions, listed by state go to Vaccination Liberation — U.S. Letters
Ontario’s Health Care Consent Act provides an excellent example of the type of provincial legislation that incorporates the elements that constitute Informed Consent:
The following are the elements required for consent to treatment:
- The consent must relate to the treatment.
- The consent must be informed.
- The consent must be given voluntarily.
- The consent must not be obtained through misrepresentation or fraud. 1996, c. 2, Sched. A, s. 11 (1).
Healthcare Worker & Student Vaccines
For further information on Healthcare Worker and Student Vaccines please see here.
*** Information regarding Commissioner of Oaths at ServiceOntario Offices – they are not obligated to sign exemption forms, please call ahead.
From: Feedback (MGCS)
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2017 10:02 AM
Subject: RE: Reply: Yes, Page: https://www.ontario.ca/page/serviceontario-locations-hours-and-contact
Thank you for contacting ServiceOntario.
No Commissioner (whether in a ServiceOntario or not) can be forced to sign a form that they are not comfortable with signing. At all times and under any circumstances they would have the right to refuse to sign any document. Individual Commissioners hold legal appointments and they must decide what they will or will not commission.
In general, the Commissioners in ServiceOntario offices are there to commission documents that are related to ServiceOntario services. Since the document you mentioned isn’t related to a ServiceOntario service (ie: registering a business, transfer of a vehicle, etc.) it does not fall under the types of affidavits they would normally be expected to commission. If staff feel comfortable signing the form, that’s fine. If not, then they can exercise their right to refuse to sign the affidavit.
There are two types of ownership groups for ServiceOntario centres, some are publicly owned and the rest are privately owned.
The publicly owned centres have Commissioners on staff that may not charge a fee to sign documents and are available when the centre is open. If a privately owned centre has Commissioners they will charge a fee to sign a document but, they may only be available for certain hours. The Commissioner will decide what documents they sign. For information about a specific centre please contact that centre.
To find the services offered, the address and the hours of the centre in your area please visit the website at: https://www.services.gov.on.ca/sf/#/
In the Service Finder webpage, please type the service you are looking for or select one from the list under Most popular services. Then enter the name of a City or Town in the search bar under Search locations.
In Ontario, there are thousands of Commissioners who have been appointed in the businesses or organizations that need them. Commissioners who are automatically commissioners because of their position and who can authorize documents include all Members of Provincial Parliament (MPP), mayors, reeves, municipal clerks, municipal treasurers, justices of the peace and lawyers. The City of Toronto no longer authorizes documents.
Customer Service Representative (Bilingual)
ServiceOntario – making it easier
Visit us at: www.ServiceOntario.ca
Sent: May 1, 2017 4:03 PM
To: Feedback (MGCS)
Subject: Reply: Yes, Page: https://www.ontario.ca/page/serviceontario-locations-hours-and-contact
Referring page: page/serviceontario-locations-hours-and-contact
Hello, My name is Rita Hoffman and I am the Secretary with the group Vaccine Choice Canada. We have just been advised that a member of the public tried to get the Ontario Government form “Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief Affidavit 4897-64E (2013/08)” signed by a Commissioner of Oaths at a Service Ontario Outlet, but was told that “this form is not on their list of forms they can sign.” The Niagara Region Health Unit indicates the following, on who can sign the Affidavit: “Commissioners of Oaths are: Regional Clerk or Deputy Regional Clerk; City Clerk or Deputy Clerk; Treasurers or Deputy Treasurers of municipalities; Justices of the Peace (for items of a legal nature); Lawyers; MP; MPP; Licensed Paralegals; Police Chiefs; some staff at the Service Ontario, Government Information Centre are Commissioners” – here is the web link so you can confirm this: http://www.niagararegion.ca/health/vaccinations/children/school-exemption.aspx Can you please advise me: 1) Will Service Ontario employees who are Commissioner of Oaths sign the above form? 2) If not, can you please provide us with the list of forms that can be signed? 3) If the forms can be signed, is there a cost to sign these forms? 4) Do all of your offices have Commissioner of Oaths on staff at all times? 5) If the forms can be signed, what is the suggested protocol for people wanting to get their form signed. Thank you very much time, and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. Sincerely, Rita Hoffman