FACT CHECK: Is The Ottawa Police Force Exempt From The COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate?

Kenia Mazariegos | Contributor

An image shared on Facebook claims police officers in Ottawa, Canada, are exempt from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Verdict: Misleading

The claim is based on an old policy that allowed unvaccinated Ottawa police officers to remain on the job so long as they tested negative for COVID-19 every three days. The most recent policy now requires all members to be fully vaccinated.

Fact Check

Canada imposed a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers starting Jan. 15, requiring unvaccinated Canadian truckers re-entering Canada from the U.S. to get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine, according to Reuters. Truckers have challenged the mandate through the “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa, prompting a state of emergency to be declared in the city, the outlet reported.

Social media users have shared an image that features a screen grab of a tweet that claims Ottawa police officers are exempt from the vaccination mandate. “So they get to choose but truckers cannot? Got it,” the post reads in part.

The tweet includes a link to a story from Canadian news outlet CTV News with a headline that reads, “Ottawa Police exempt from vaccine mandate.” (RELATED: Did CBC Report Canadian Truckers Are Being Condemned For ‘Giving Away Free Food’?)

The story stems from an Oct. 25 broadcast that aired on CTV News and reported that Ottawa police officers were not required to be vaccinated to keep their jobs. The policy allowed officers to forgo vaccination as long as they tested negative for COVID-19 every 72 hours, according to the report.

However, amendments were added Oct. 29, 2021, by Chief of the Ottawa Police Service Peter Sloly. The new guidelines stated that all members of the department were to complete their two-dose COVID-19 vaccination series by Jan. 31, 2022, according to the policy.

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) told Check Your Fact in an email that there were “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,” OPS stated, adding that the leaves were not impacting operations.

Kenia Mazariegos