According to the CBC, lawmakers in Ontario are considering a bill that would require vaccine-denying parents to take a class on the benefits of vaccines.
If the bill passes, parents would have to take the class before they’re allowed to request a personal exemption
Ontario was the first province in Canada to introduce immunization laws (pdf) in 1982, which required that children attending school be vaccinated against certain diseases—including diphtheria, tetanus, polio, and measles—unless they have a signed exemption. After routine immunization was introduced, cases of those diseases dramatically reduced.
Parents who apply for an exemption (pdf) for non-medical reasons risk having their child pulled from school if there’s an outbreak, or the immediate risk of an outbreak, of a designated disease.
The bill comes on the heels of almost 600 high school students in the Waterloo region of Ontario being suspended for not having their vaccination records current.
[The bill is] part of health minister Eric Hoskins’ proposed new five-year strategy, called Immunization 2020, which will also launch an online tool to help parents keep track of their vaccination schedule. Ontario immunization coverage, though high, still falls short of national immunization targets.
Featured image: Blake Patterson (Flickr)