Immunization Requirements for Children in Child Care Centres (Daycare)
- Mandatory immunizations required to attend a child care centre in Ontario
- What do parents need to do?
- If parents receive a letter notifying them that their child is missing vaccinations
Having up-to-date immunizations helps ensure that children have the best protection possible against certain diseases that can be very serious or even fatal. It also helps reduce the risk of disease outbreaks in child care centres (daycares). Ontario’s Routine Immunization Schedule provides a number of immunizations free of charge to both children and adults. Some of these immunizations are mandatory for children to attend child care centres in Ontario.
Mandatory immunizations required to attend a child care centre in Ontario
The Child Care and Early Years Act requires parents to provide proof of immunization (or appropriate exemption documents) for certain diseases if their child attends a licensed child care centre in Ontario.
As per the requirement of the Medical Officer of Health, children enrolled in a child care centre must have proof of immunization against the following diseases:
- pertussis (whooping cough)
- haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- varicella (chickenpox)
- pneumococcal disease
- meningococcal disease
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is also required by law to review immunization records of all children enrolled in child care centres in the EOHU area. Child care centre operators must keep, at all times, an up-to-date copy of each enrolled child’s immunization records. The EOHU conducts an annual immunization record review for children attending the centre. If immunization records are not up-to-date, parents or guardians of children in need of vaccination will receive notices to that effect. Children in a child care centre who are missing immunizations may be suspended during disease outbreaks.
What do parents need to do?
- Parents should check if their child’s immunizations are up-to-date. If they’re unsure, they should talk to their healthcare provider (e.g. doctor, nurse practitioner) or the EOHU.
- If their child is overdue for any vaccines, they can make arrangements with a healthcare provider or book an appointment with the EOHU to have their child immunized.
- If their child receives a vaccine or booster shot from a healthcare provider: Parents must report the vaccine to the EOHU so that their child’s immunization record can be updated. Note: Healthcare providers do not notify the EOHU when they give a vaccine.
If parents receive a letter notifying them that their child is missing vaccinations
There are several reasons why parents may receive a notice that their child is missing a vaccination:
- The child has not yet received a required immunization.
- The EOHU has not received information for an immunization that the child received.
- The child may have received immunizations outside of Ontario that do not meet the requirements of the Ontario Immunization Schedule.
- An exemption has been requested, but the signed and completed medical form or notarized conscience/religious affidavit has not been returned to the EOHU.
Parents must follow the instructions above, or provide the EOHU with the appropriate exemption document.
In certain cases, a child may be exempt from immunization requirements. To obtain an exemption, an official exemption form has to be fully completed, and a copy must be kept on file by the child care centre. It is important to note that children who are exempt from immunization are at increased risk of disease, and may be removed from the child care centre during a disease outbreak.
If a child is unable to be immunized for medical reasons, parents can request that a legally qualified healthcare provider complete a medical exemption form for the child.
Philosophical or Religious Exemption for a Child Attending a Child Care Centre
Parents who have philosophical or religious objections to immunization may apply for an exemption for their child, using the form below. A separate exemption application must be completed for each child.
In order to be valid, Statements of Conscience or Religious Belief need to be notarized, and the original copy must be given to the EOHU to keep on file.
The following qualify as Commissioner for Taking Affidavits:
- Member of Provincial Parliament
- Provincial Judge
- Justice of the Peace
- Clerk, Deputy Clerk or Treasurer of Local Municipalities (in which your local municipality is situated)
- Head of Municipal Council in which your local municipality is situated
- Member of City Councils (reeves) in which your local municipality is situated
- Notary Public
- Barrister and solicitors entitled to practice law in Ontario
- Any individual who is empowered by the Lieutenant Governor to be a commissioner (a stamp is required for these individuals)
For more information:
Vaccines for babies and toddlers (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)
Eastern Ontario Health Unit: 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120