Canada’s largest school board is pushing to make mandatory vaccination a condition of returning to the classroom on Jan. 17.

In less than an hour on Thursday, Toronto District School Board trustees voted 13-4 to have the COVID-19 vaccine made compulsory under the Immunization of School Pupils Act.

Efforts by trustee Chris Tonks to have “substantial debate” about what he characterized as a “moral and ethical” decision were quickly and vociferously shot down.

“There is a lot of anxiety among parents around immunizing children (aged) 5-12,” Tonks said.

Clearly perturbed with efforts to derail the compulsory vaccination efforts, long-time trustee Shelley Laskin insisted the board had already supported the move – via a letter from the chairman in September – as had the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA).

“We follow the direction of public health,” she said, a sanctimonious tone to her voice. “We don’t consult the world on public health measures.”

Former board chairman Robin Pilkey insisted they had to do whatever they could “so students come back safely.”

TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said if the vaccine is included in the Immunization of School Pupils Act, students “could be suspended” for not having it.

Although Bird mentioned that there are “accommodation/exemption provisions” under the Act relating to one’s conscience or religious belief, he also said parents would be required to file an affidavit that the immunization “conflicts with (their) sincerely held convictions based on the parent’s religion or conscience.”

Despite the board’s vote, the final decision would ultimately rest with the chief medical officers of health for Ontario and Toronto – Keiran Moore and Eileen DeVilla, respectively – and from there require government approval. 

DeVilla is already on record saying vaccines should be mandatory for school kids, but she hasn’t referred specifically to the 5-11 age group. Vaccines for that cohort were just approved for use in late November of last year.

Moore indicated in October that he would not be adding the COVID vaccine to the Act, but that was before the Omicron virus caused the latest provincial lockdown.

Look, we all know that this measure is more about pacifying the board’s hysterical teachers and their unions than keeping kids safe. This includes the entire TDSB COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Plan, which includes a request for funding for N95 masks for kids. 

Far too many teachers and even principals spent New Year’s weekend taking to social media to express their alleged “panic” and to pressure the government into keeping classrooms closed.

But more than that, it is absolutely outrageous that a group of trustees – most of them leftist and union-backed – should be able to dictate that young children need to be vaccinated with a new vaccine that could cause complications as it has with so many adults (myself included).

It is highly unethical and tantamount to child abuse. And one knows that if the TDSB is able to do it, other boards will follow suit.

We don’t live in Communist China just yet, but I’m starting not to recognize my Canada anymore. 


  • Sue-Ann Levy

    A two-time investigative reporting award winner and nine-time winner of the Toronto Sun’s Readers Choice award for news writer, Sue-Ann Levy made her name for advocating the poor, the homeless, the elderly in long-term care and others without a voice and for fighting against the striking rise in anti-Semitism and the BDS movement across Canada.