To protect children from disease outbreaks in schools, Ontario has the “Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA).” This act requires that all students in Ontario have proof of immunization against:
Starting in September 2014, children in Ontario will now need proof of immunization against three additional diseases in order to attend school:
- Meningococcal disease
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Varicella (chickenpox)- required by children born in 2010 or later
Ottawa Public Health is working to have up-to-date immunization records for 150,000 students in Ottawa by September 2015. OPH staff is reviewing the records of all students and estimate that the information for 63,000 students is not up to date. OPH is using an automated dialler to contact parents of children whose immunization information is not up to date.
Parents are required to provide this information to school boards at kindergarten registration however it is the parent’s responsibility to send information about new vaccines received by their child to Ottawa Public Health. Updates on immunizations are crucial information to protect the health of students during an infectious disease outbreak, such as measles.
If an exemption is required for any reason, contact the Immunization Program at 613-580-6744. (What do I do if I do not want my child immunized?)
More information about immunization is available from Ottawa Public Health.
Open weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm and can be reached by:
Learn more about why immunization is important.
Update your child’s immunization record
Any time your child gets a vaccination or booster shot you need to update their record with Ottawa Public Health by:
- Completing the Online Immunization Reporting to Ottawa Public Health
- Fax: 613-580-9660
- Mail: Immunization Program, 100 Constellation Dr., Ottawa, ON, K2G 6J8, 7th floor, mail code 26-44
- Phone 613-580-6744 Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm
- ImmunizeCA App: appottawa.immunize.ca
Completing school registration
To complete the Public Health portion of school registration, contact the Ottawa Public Health Immunization Program at 613-580-6744, for an appointment or information or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also obtain the forms directly from the school during registration and complete them as directed.
- Please complete all the information on the Student Immunization Information form
- Return the completed form and a copy of the student's immunization record to the Ottawa Public Health Immunization Program or to the school. If the student is missing immunization or the information is incomplete, nurses from the Immunization Program will contact you during the school year.
Immunization is available at:
Your family doctor or a walk-in clinic.
There is no charge for the vaccines available through public funding.
DO NOT GO TO THE CHEO EMERGENCY UNIT FOR ROUTINE IMMUNIZATION. IT IS ONLY FOR EMERGENCY CARE.
Find a doctor:
Keeping immunization records
Your doctor should give you a written record whenever immunization is given to your child. It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to take care of this record and keep it up to date. It’s as important as a birth certificate or passport. Health Canada recommends restarting immunization when the child has no documentation of immunization.
Written records are needed when:
- Starting day care or kindergarten
- Transferring to a new school in another area
- Going to summer camp
- Starting university or college, especially in health care programs
- Living in residence at university or college
- Going to work
- Traveling to countries where the diseases are common
- Going for emergency health care
Deciding not to immunize a child
You are encouraged to speak with a Public Health Nurse (PHN) to discuss how best to protect your child from vaccine preventable diseases. For any questions you may have related to vaccines or the exemption process, please call Ottawa Public Health (OPH) at 613-580-6744 to speak with a PHN.
A valid signed exemption form is required if you decide not to immunize your child for medical, religious or philosophical reasons. Please note, any child with a religious or philosophical vaccine exemption, and certain medical exemptions, on file will be excluded from attending school in the case of an outbreak caused by a related vaccine preventable disease.
Once you have decided to obtain an exemption you must complete the following steps.
For Medical Exemption:
- Print the Ministry Medical Exemption Form.
- Have your physician complete the form. Please note there may be a cost.
- Mail original copy to OPH. See mailing address below.
- We encourage you to keep a copy for your own records.
For Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief:
- Please print off the Affidavit Instruction Letter and indicate the vaccines for which your child should be exempted.
- Fill out the Ministry Exemption Form online
- The Exemption Form must be signed by parent and by an Ontario Commissioner for Taking Affidavits (See list of commissioners on letter, and note there may be a cost). A list of all the City of Ottawa Client Service Centres can be found on ottawa.ca.
- Once you complete the forms, please mail the original copy of the exemption form and the letter to OPH by mail:
Ottawa Public Health
100 Constellation Dr.
Ottawa (Ontario) K2G 6J8
Mail Code 26-44