Another very personal decision in a family is that of whether or not to immunize one’s children. While there are strong advocates on both sides of the matter, it is up to each family to make an informed decision about what is best for them.
In Ontario, immunizations are governed by the Immunization of School Pupils Act, Royal Statute of Ontario 1990, and the associated regulation which is RRO 1990 Reg. 645. This act states that all minor-aged pupils must be immunized or must have filled out and submitted an exemption form. While this regulation obviously will also apply to homeschoolers, the necessity of submitting an exemption is certainly more pertinent to those children enrolled with a school board where one child’s lack of immunization could affect the larger group.
If there is an organization that is requesting your child’s immunization record, there is a statement of conscience or religious belief exemption that the family can fill out. That organization should know, however, that contrary to the external pressure that some families receive, 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).
No one in Canada can be forced to receive a vaccination. In some cases, privately-owned nursery schools, daycares, and other schools can demand vaccination for enrollment, but publically-funded schools and daycares cannot. And clearly, vaccinations cannot be forced upon your homeschool students.
If you are being pressured to immunize your children, or if you are being required to produce proof of, or exemption from, vaccination, do not hesitate to contact our office. HSLDA will help you with the legal documents you need to satisfy the demands upon you in this matter.