Vaccine Exemption

Education sessions

Starting September 1, 2017, there is a new law in Ontario for parents who choose not to give vaccines to their child because of personal choice. The law says this group of parents must attend a workshop on vaccines at the Health Department. The Halton Region Health Department will be offering their first workshop in the fall of 2017 and will post online registration as soon as it’s available. If you wish to get on our wait list please register online or call 311. We will send you an email when you are able to book into an education session.

What is a vaccine exemption?

A parent or guardian may decide to not give their child vaccines. Parents may get an exemption for their child for medical reasons or based on personal choice. Getting an exemption form is the legal process to exempt your child from getting vaccines.

What does vaccine exemption mean for my child?

Vaccines help your child’s immune system to fight disease. If your child is not vaccinated, he or she does not have the needed protection to help fight disease. Your child will then be at risk if in contact with a vaccine preventable disease. Vaccines not only protect your child, but everyone around them.

If there is an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease at a daycare or school, your child may not be allowed to attend until the outbreak is over. As a result, your child could miss a large amount of school time or may not be able to attend child care or day care. This could mean needing to find other child care arrangements.

How do I exempt my child from receiving vaccines?

For both medical and personal choice exemptions, make sure that you choose the right form:

  • For children in child care, select the child care form.
  • For students in elementary or secondary school, select the school-age form.

For medical reasons for both children in child care and school-age students:

  1. Print the Statement of Medical Exemption form
  2. Bring the form to your healthcare provider to fill out
  3. Submit your original, signed form to the Health Department located at 1151 Bronte Rd, Oakville L6M 3L1

For personal choice reasons for children in child care:

  1. Print the Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief form
  2. Bring the form to a Commissioner of Oaths to have it signed
  3. Submit the original, signed form to the Health Department located at 1151 Bronte Rd, Oakville, L6M 3L1

For personal choice reasons for students who are school-age:

  1. Attend the education session at the Health Department and obtain a vaccine education certificate
  2. Print the Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief form
  3. Bring the form to a Commissioner of Oaths to have it signed
  4. Submit the original, signed form and your vaccine education certificate to the Health Department located at 1151 Bronte Rd, Oakville, L6M 3L1


What if I only want to be exempt from certain vaccines?

All public health units in Ontario are required to have a complete record of vaccines or an exemption for these diseases:

  • Diptheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Varicella (born on or after 2010)

On your form you can mark which vaccines you want your child to be exempt from.

Why do I have to take an education session in order to submit my exemption?

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term care made changes to the Immunization of School Pupil’s Act (ISPA).As of September 1, 2017, the Immunization of School Pupil’s Act (ISPA) requires parents who do not vaccinate their children, for personal reasons, to attend an education session at their local health department. This session will help make sure parents have all the facts they need to make an informed choice. This education session is only required for exemptions for students in elementary or secondary school. The education session is not needed for children in child care or day care.

I have more than one child, do I have to attend the education session more than once?

No. While you must submit an exemption form for each child, you only need to attend the education session once per family.

How long are these exemptions good for? Do I need to get a new one every year?

Child care exemptions are valid until:

  • The child enters full-time school; OR
  • A parent/guardian chooses to cancel the exemption; OR
  • The medical reason for the exemption no longer exists.

Once the child enters school, you will need to complete a different form and attend an education session at the Health Department.
School-age exemptions are valid until:

  • The student turns 18 years old; OR
  • The parent/guardian who signed the original chooses to cancel the exemption; OR
  • The medical reason for the exemption no longer exists.

These exemption forms do not apply to persons in post-secondary education or for employment purposes.

How do I find a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits (also known as a Commissioner of Oaths)?

The following people are authorized to sign forms for exemption:

  • Regional Clerk at the Halton Regional Centre, 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville (appointment is required)
  • Municipal Clerks or Deputy Clerks for your Local Municipality
  • Members of the Provincial Government (MPPs)
  • Provincial judges
  • Justices of the peace
  • Barristers or Solicitors licensed to practice law in Ontario
  • Licensed paralegals
  • A notary public

Photo identification with a signature is needed (for example a driver’s licence, picture health card, passport). Some offices require an appointment and some may charge a fee.

How do I book an education session?

The Health Department is currently planning the education sessions. If you wish to get on our wait list please register online or call 311. We will send you an email when you are able to book into an education session.