A Toronto Health Board meeting had a big crowd on Monday, September 23 due to a controversial motion on the agenda for the day. Crowds of people gathered to have their say on the Toronto vaccine exemption topic, and some anti-vax supporters made themselves heard. In a video taken from the meeting, cries of "shame!" are clearly audible.

The Board of Health has unanimously passed a report at City Hall that includes a proposal to end philosophical and religious exemptions for vaccines in the province, according to City News. The recommendation also advocates preventing students from skipping vaccines for other non-medical reasons.

Anti-vaxxers started chanting "shame" after the motion was passed and urged Health Canada to consider developing a national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, as outlined in the agenda item. This, they say, would aim to strengthen vaccine safety and also support people who may have a serious side effect from a vaccine. They also requested to introduce legislation to restrict "inaccurate and misleading" anti-vaccine messaging that is targeted to the public.

According to the Toronto Star, an anti-vaccine group threatened to take the province of Ontario to court if it attempts to remove a parent's right to refuse to vaccinate their children for philosophical or religious reasons.

"Any legislation that removes the right to informed consent and sovereignty undermines our rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms," said Vaccine Choice Canada to the Star.

The City of Toronto, according to the CBC, estimates that around 20 percent of parents in the Toronto area are considered vaccine-hesitant, a school of thought based on reluctance or refusal to vaccinate due to worries about side effects, which have been known to include serious injuries and death.

The requests on Monday also included having the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario develop a best practice guideline on "vaccine hesitancy" and misinformation for nurses. Another proposal concerned requesting that all Toronto school boards and the Ministry of Education adopt Kids Boost Immunity. This is a program of science, social studies, and health lessons developed by teachers to educate students on the issue. 

Most of the recommendations made at the meeting will need approval by the provincial and/or federal governments before they can go ahead.

The spreading of unverified news and opinions on social media has a lot to do with the misinformation about vaccines, according to the release. Let's be real, you can apply that to most things.

The controversy surrounding the topic of vaccinations has seen a resurgence recently. The furore has increased particularly since Waterloo Public Health announced back in February that it would look to suspend over 6,000 unvaccinated schoolkids.

Around that same time, Torontonians were in uproar over explicitly anti-vax billboards that had begun popping up all over the city.

Vaccination is a furiously debated issue both within and without Toronto, and, even with new motions being passed, that probably isn't going to change anytime soon.


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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