Immunization helps ensure that children have the best protection against various serious diseases. It also plays an important role in reducing the risk of disease outbreaks in child care centres.
To identify children susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases, Public Health collects, reviews and maintains immunization records of children attending licensed child care centres.
The Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) requires licensed child care centres to ensure that all children in attendance are fully immunized for their age or have a valid exemption form on file (see section below on exemptions). A copy of each child’s completed immunization information form and exemption form (where applicable) must be kept on file at the child care centre.
By law, children must be immunized against the following diseases as outlined in the Ontario’s Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule (PDF, 1 page):
- Tetanus, diphtheria, polio
- Measles, mumps, rubella (German measles)
- Meningococcal disease (meningitis)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Haemophilus influenza type b
Pneumococcal, rotavirus and annual influenza vaccine are also strongly encouraged.
Forms needed for immunization information collection
Prior to the child’s first day, a parent/guardian must provide the following:
- Immunization Information Form for Licensed Child Care Settings (PDF, 2 pages, 160 KB),
- a photocopy of an up-to-date immunization record, and/or
- a valid Ministry of Education exemption form (see below).
Child care centres should forward these items to Public Health soon after collection to ensure immunization information for each child is kept up to date.
Exemptions from immunization
As of August 29, 2016, amendments made to the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 now require that children attending licensed child care seeking exemptions from immunization for religious or conscientious reasons, or for medical reasons, must submit one of the Ministry of Education exemption forms found below:
- Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief, Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 – must be signed by a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits
- Statement of Medical Exemption, Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 – must be signed by a healthcare provider and include their license or registration number
Child care centres should submit exemption forms to Public Health along with a completed Immunization Information Form for Licensed Child Care Settings (PDF, 2 pages, 160 KB) form at the time of enrolment. A copy of both forms is to be kept on file at the child care centre for review by a Ministry of Education licensing officer. Please note that the Ministry of Education, Child Care and Early Years Act 2014 exemption form will expire once a child enrols in school and a new Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care exemption form under the Immunization of School Pupils Act will be required.
Exclusion of unvaccinated children
If there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease, Public Health may require that children who are not adequately immunized (including those with exemptions) be excluded from the child care centre until the outbreak is over.