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Fact Check-Ottawa Police are not exempt from COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Contrary to posts on social media, police officers in the city of Ottawa are not exempt from COVID-19 vaccine mandates. In October 2021, Ottawa Police instituted a mandatory vaccination policy.

One post (here) reads, “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 this up!”

Additional examples can be seen (here), (here), (here), (here), (here), and (here).

Tensions between law enforcement and protestors continue to rise (here) as the “Freedom Convoy” protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates continues in Ottawa, Canada. Reuters coverage of the latest developments can be seen (here).

The social media user claims follow reports that Ottawa Police Chief, Peter Sloly called for increased resources (here) to handle turbulent protests in the city.

The claims that the police officers are exempt from vaccine requirements originate from a screenshot of an October 25, 2021 Facebook post of a CTV News Ottawa video report (here) or a link to their story (here). It says officers can choose between vaccinating or frequent rapid testing to stay employed.

The report was accurate at the time. But the COVID-19 vaccine policies of the Ottawa Police Service were amended days later (here).

Based on an October 29 statement from Sloly (here), exemptions were replaced with a mandatory vaccine requirement for members of the police force. Employees were given until January 31, 2022, “to complete their two-dose vaccination (or receive a formal exemption in line with Ottawa Public Health guidelines).”

A representative for The Ottawa Police Service told Reuters via email that “less than 10 Ottawa Police Service sworn officers (and less than 10 civilians) have not yet received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.” According to the police force, employees who have not completed vaccine requirements are on a leave of absence without pay effective February 1, 2022.

VERDICT

Partly false. Initial reports that Ottawa Police were exempt from COVID-19 vaccine mandates are no longer accurate. Guidance was changed on October 29, 2021, requiring Ottawa Police officers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 31, 2022.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .

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