Fact Check: Ottawa Police Are NOT Exempt From COVID-19 Vax Mandate

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Ottawa Police Are NOT Exempt From COVID-19 Vax Mandate Must Get Vax

Are members of the Ottawa Police Service exempt from mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations? No, that's not true: The Ottawa Police Service released a statement in 2021 announcing that all members of the service who did not have official exemptions must get fully vaccinated by January 31, 2022.

The claim appeared in an Instagram post on February 9, 2022. The post includes a graphic with text that reads in part:

The police who are attacking the truckers and seizing their fuel are exempt from the vaccine mandate the truckers are protesting against. Can't make it up!

This is how the post looked on Instagram on February 10, 2022:

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Feb 10 16:49 2022 UTC)

The "truckers" referred to in the post are those involved in the "Freedom Convoy" protests, which started as a rally against COVID vaccine mandates required for truckers traveling across the U.S.-Canada border. On February 6, 2022, the Ottawa Police Service issued a report stating that its officers had made multiple arrests and seized fuel and vehicles at the demonstration.

Members of the Ottawa Police Service are not free from COVID vaccine mandates. On October 29, 2021, the service released a statement announcing a "mandatory vaccination policy for all members." The members had until January 31, 2022, to receive their two-dose vaccination or an official exemption "in line with Ottawa Public Health guidelines."

The claim that members of the Ottawa Police Service do not have to be vaccinated may have stemmed from posts like this that were published in groups involved in the Freedom Convoy efforts:

ottawa police freedom convoy fb post.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Feb 10 16:41:26 2022 UTC)

In an email to Lead Stories on February 10, 2022, the media relations team for the Ottawa Police Service confirmed that the service does have a "mandatory vaccination policy" and told us:

We can advise that at this point in time, there are less than 10 Ottawa Police Service sworn officers (and less than 10 civilians) who have not yet received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Pursuant to our policy, these employees are on a leave of absence without pay effective February 1, 2022. This is not impacting operations.

More Lead Stories fact checks related to the "Freedom Convoy" can be found here.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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