OTTAWA – Steven Del Duca was at Ottawa’s Celebration Park to announce that an Ontario Liberal government will protect vulnerable kids and make classrooms safer by adding COVID-19 vaccines to the compulsory immunization schedule for all children attending public schools in Ontario.
“The Doug Ford Conservatives’ approach to the pandemic was chaotic and confusing. Their hyper-political approach undermined confidence in vaccines and prolonged lockdowns and suffering — particularly for our kids,” said Del Duca. “The best way to get back to normal is to make classrooms safer. Ontario Liberals will do just that by expanding the list of universal vaccines to include the COVID-19 vaccine and requiring all frontline education workers to be vaccinated.”
“The Ford Conservatives dismantled the infrastructure we need to boost vaccine uptake on a voluntary basis. Ontario Liberals will make a different choice: partnering with parents, educators, and healthcare professionals to positively promote vaccination as the best available tool to keep kids safe,” continued Del Duca.
Under the Ontario Liberal plan, the COVID-19 vaccine will join nine other universal vaccines on the list of students’ required shots. Current exemptions under the Immunization of School Pupils Act will continue to apply.
On Wednesday, Ontario Liberals announced a plan to make a $10 billion investment in new and repaired schools – the largest such investment in provincial history. The plan will be fully funded by cancelling the Doug Ford Conservatives’ wasteful, damaging Highway 413, which experts say will destroy one-of-a-kind greenspace without significantly improving commute times. The savings from cancelling Highway 413 will be reinvested in 200 new schools and 4,500 schools that require urgent repairs, including to their ventilation systems.
The plan prioritises making schools safer, healthier, and more accessible by eliminating the repair backlog, focusing on ensuring classrooms are in good condition, particularly when it comes to ventilation.
“We’re offering people in Ontario a clear choice,” Del Duca concluded. “An Ontario Liberal government that will make classrooms safer with ventilation and vaccines, or four more years of the Doug Ford Conservatives’ cuts and classroom chaos. The choice is yours.”
- The Immunization of School Pupils Act was introduced more than three decades ago, in 1990.
- According to the Ministry of Health, students attending public school must have proof of immunization against the following designated diseases:
- Meningococcal Disease
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Varicella (chicken pox) – for children born in 2010 or later
- In January, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) strengthened their guidance for kids aged 5 to 11, strongly recommending they be immunized against COVID-19.