Schools and Child Care Centers
Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA)
- Students who are up-to-date with their vaccinations are protected against many serious diseases and their complications. High rates of immunization help to ensure that outbreaks of disease do not occur in our communities. The Immunization of School Pupils Act requires all school students to be fully immunized, unless a valid medical or philosophical/religious exemption is in place.
- In Ontario the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) states that all children attending school in Ontario must be adequately immunized against the following diseases:
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
- Meningococcal Disease
- Varicella (Chickenpox) is mandatory for students born on or after January 1, 2010.
All the vaccines needed for school are free.
- Parents are responsible for providing their child’s immunization record to the Health Unit when registering their child for school or transferring their child to a school in Grey or Bruce Counties from another area. Parents are also responsible for keeping the Health Unit informed every time their child gets another vaccination.
- Under ISPA, the Grey Bruce Health Unit is responsible for collecting and maintaining the immunization records of all children enrolled in schools within Grey and Bruce counties, including private, public and catholic, elementary and secondary schools. These records are then kept within a secure provincial database.
In Ontario, Health Care Providers are not required to notify Public Health when they’ve administered a vaccine to a school aged child. It is the parent’s responsibility to notify Public Health of any immunizations.
Please report to Public Health the date the vaccine was administered, using one of these methods:
The Grey Bruce Health Unit offers Immunization Clinics in Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Bluewater District School Board, Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board, Private and Parochial Schools in Grey and Bruce Counties.
Elementary School Vaccine Clinics
Elementary School Vaccine Clinics are in the fall and spring to offer these vaccines to students in Grade 7:
*if you would like to know when Public Health Nurses will be attending your child’s school please contact us or the school.
Secondary School Vaccine Clinics
Secondary School Vaccine Clinics are in the winter to offer these vaccines to all Secondary School Students:
Suspension from School
If the Health Unit does not have a complete record, you will receive notices about the missing information. This will give you an opportunity to update your child’s record or to find the missing information and return a copy of it to the Health Unit within a given amount of time.
If the Health Unit does not receive this information in the given time, you will receive a notice of suspension until the appropriate documentation and/or immunizations are received.
Note: The law also states that parents of children who refuse to have their children immunized or legally exempted are liable for a fine of up to $1,000.
Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA)
Young children in group settings, such as child care centres or schools, are at a higher risk of becoming infected with communicable diseases. These communicable diseases can also pose a threat to others in the community. Many of these diseases are preventable with adequate vaccination.
- The Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) requires operators of licensed child care centres to ensure that children who are under their care are immunized as recommended by the local Medical Officer of Health. Children in licensed child care centres in Grey Bruce must be adequately immunized against the following diseases:
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
- Meningococcal Disease
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
- Haemophilus influenza b (Hib)
What can I do if I do not want my child immunized?
Even though immunization is mandatory in Ontario, some children may be exempted under the following special circumstances:
- appropriate medical reasons
- non-medical (i.e. philosophical and/or religious) reasons
It is important that parents make an informed decision about not vaccinating their child, for both the protection of the child and the protection of the community.
Medical exemptions must be completed by a physician and will be given to children whose health could be affected by vaccinations. Children who are already immune and have evidence to prove it may be exempted by a physician as well.
Parents who do not want their child to have immunizations, or do not want a specific vaccine, can obtain a non-medical exemption.
For children attending a child care centre, who are not yet registered for school:
Parent/legal guardian can obtain a “CCEYA Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief” Affidavit form. The Affidavit forms are available from the Grey Bruce Health Unit by calling 519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456. The form must by witnessed by a person who is authorized to sign affidavits. Please note that a completed CCEYA Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief Affidavit form only exempts children from immunization while they are attending a licensed child care facility, not from school.
For children who are registered for school:
As of September 1, 2017, the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) was changed. A parent/legal guardian who is seeking a non-medical exemption from immunizations for one or more of their children needs to:
- attend an immunization education session with their local Health Unit, and
- submit a notarized ISPA “Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief” affidavit with the Health Unit
Both of these steps need to be completed before an exemption can be processed. Please call the Health Unit at 519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 for more information.
Exclusion from School or Child Care Centre
In the event of an outbreak or threatened outbreak of any vaccine preventable disease included in the Immunization School Pupils Act or Child Care and Early Years Act legislation, the medical officer of health may order any student or daycare attendee who is not immune, regardless of legal exemptions filed with the Health Unit, to be excluded from school or daycare. In this case, the child may not be able to attend school or daycare for two to three weeks or until the outbreak of disease has ended.
Health Care Consent Act
The Health Care Consent Act is an Ontario law that states a person has the right to consent to or refuse treatment if they have the mental capacity to provide informed consent – regardless of their age. Informed consent involves the ability to fully comprehend;
- the nature of the treatment
- the expected benefits of the treatment
- the material risks of the treatment
- the material side effects of the treatment
- the alternative courses of action
- the likely consequences of the treatment.