Your child can be suspended from school if they're not immunized. Manager of Infectious Disease with the Northwestern Health Unit, Donna Stanley explains.

"It's a law in Ontario called the Immunization of School Pupils Act. We don't make the law, and we don't actually have a say in the law, but we're mandated to enforce the law. It's our job at the health unit," she said.

The law has been in place since 1990, but has recently come back into the spotlight thanks to social media. 

Stanley added that they often try to connect with families in multiple ways before their child is suspended, but often times they don't hear back.

Stanley talked about why immunization is important.

"Some vaccines we give protect against diseases that could spread to other people, so it's a protection for the person, but also those around them. Some people have things like health conditions where they can't get immunized and they are then at risk. The more people in a school that are immunized the less risk there is for everyone,"she said.

Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, your child can be exempted from immunization for medical reasons or due to conscience or religious belief.

Stanley explained.

"There is a process where people need to have an affidavit notarized stating their exemption. They also need to participate in an education session. That session isn't to try to change people's minds. It's our due diligence to make sure people are making an informed choice," she said.

Additionally, If you want your child to attend daycare, and decide not to vaccinate them due to medical, religious or philosophical reasons, you will need to give your daycare a valid written exemption. If the disease appears in your child's daycare centre, your child may have to stay out of daycare until the disease is no longer present.

For more information:

Vaccines for children at school

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