Health Canada Vaccine Mandates or Not?

May 2, 2013

2 May (VACLIB.ORG) – Over 1,700 students in Waterloo Region have received suspension notices in which they were warned to update their immunization records or face suspension from school next week.  The notices, from Waterloo Region Public Health, were given to students Wednesday. 

“They have until May 7 to call us and update their records or get immunizations before suspension day,” said Linda Black, the manager of the region’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Program.

Students still have time to get vaccinated before the deadline.

Provincial law allows public health departments to suspend students from attending school for up to 20 days or until their immunization records are updated.  Black says Waterloo Region Public Health sent a letter in September advising parents to send updated immunization records. A second round of letters went out about six weeks ago, warning of the impending suspension.

“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. It must be emphasized that, in these three provinces, exceptions are permitted for medical or religious grounds and reasons of conscience; legislation and regulations must not be interpreted to imply compulsory immunization. ”

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