The purpose of this historical study of the development and application of the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) in 1982 is to demonstrate the expected and unexpected consequences of policy choices. Rising concern about declining immunization rates and apparently successful school-based requirements in the United States led Ontario to pass the ISPA. The legislation triggered anti-vaccination activism which has continued to the present day. It also greatly increased the workload for public health unit staff and exposed the lack of a central registry for a mobile population. Understanding the context in which policymaking occurs is essential for effective implementation.
Presenter: Heather MacDougall
Heather MacDougall is an Associate Professor and Acting Chair of the University of Waterloo History Department whose current CIHR-funded research project examines the complex history of MMR vaccination in Ontario and Quebec since 1963. She is the author of Activists & Advocates: Toronto’s Health Department, 1883-1983 (1990) and articles on pandemic influenza, cholera, SARS and the origins of medicare.
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