The COVID-19 vaccine is not required by law for school attendance at this time. The exemption process for routine school immunizations described below does not currently apply to the COVID-19 vaccine. However, children who do not get immunized are at increased risk of getting COVID-19 disease. They may be removed from school if they are a contact of a case or during a disease outbreak.
For Routine Immunizations Required by Law for School Attendance
Immunization is the best way to protect against preventable diseases. We continue to assess and review student immunization records. We are currently not enforcing the Immunization of School Pupils Act. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call THU 1-866-747-4305 and speak with a school nurse.
If you choose not to immunize your child for medical or non-medical (religious, or philosophical reasons), you must submit either a Statement of Medical Exemption or complete a mandatory Education Session and a Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief.
Statement of Medical Exemption
The following steps must be taken to ensure your child is exempt from the vaccination for medical reasons:
- Complete the Statement of Medical Exemption form. Speak with your physician to have this form completed. This form must be signed by a physician or a nurse practitioner.
- Return the ORIGINAL copy of the signed exemption form to the Timiskaming Health Unit.
Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief
The following steps must be taken to ensure your child is exempt from the vaccination for Non-medical (conscience or religious beliefs):
- Complete the mandatory education session at the Timiskaming Health unit which is done by appointment. Please call 705-647-4305 to arrange.
- Complete the Statement of Conscience or Belief form.
- Have the form signed and stamped by a Commissioner of Oaths, a Notary Public, or a Justice of the Peace.
Getting the Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief form signed:
- A Commissioner of Oaths is available at municipal, and some MP/MPP’s offices. Call ahead as some offices require appointments. Make sure you ask whether you need to bring one or two pieces of identification. Fees may apply.
- A Notary Public or a Justice of the Peace can also sign or stamp your form. You would need to contact a legal office, and fees will apply.
- Return the ORIGINAL copy of the signed exemption form to the Timiskaming Health Unit (drop off or mail).
Benefits of a Completed Vaccination Record
Once your child's exemption form is on file, your child will no longer risk suspension from school. However, in the event of an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, your child will be excluded from attending school for the duration of the outbreak.
Your child can independently seek out immunizations with their health care provider or health unit without parental permission. Many schools and workplaces require immunizations, it will take time to complete a primary series of vaccinations (6-12 months).
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
Please note that an exemption form can be cancelled at any time with written notice.