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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke July 21, 2021

No, Canada isn’t banning pilots from flying if they get a COVID-19 vaccine

If Your Time is short

  • Pilots who receive COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada are not restricted from flying.

On July 19, Canada announced that fully vaccinated Americans could resume visiting the country beginning Aug. 9.

So it seems odd that the government would prohibit vaccinated pilots from flying, but that’s what a recent blog post claims. 

"Canada prohibits all vaxxed pilots from flying," reads a July 11 headline of a post on a website called "Alt News." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The post includes a screenshot of a page about COVID-19 vaccines on the website of Transport Canada, the country’s transportation department. The page said in part: "Transport Canada Civil Aviation Medicine does not restrict or limit aviators from taking vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada. Transport Canada (TC) Civil Aviation Medicine (CAM) does not impose grounding periods for aviators who wish to take vaccines approved by Health Canada."

It also said: "While TC CAM places no restrictions or limitations on vaccines approved by Health Canada, it remains the general position of TC CAM that participation in medical trials is not considered compatible with aviation medical certification."

The blog post claims that because "the corona vax is a ‘medical trial,’" COVID-19 vaccinations "are ruled to ground all pilots." 

But that misstates facts. 

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Transport Canada said pilots wouldn’t be restricted if they took vaccines approved by Health Canada, the country’s health department. 

According to Health Canada’s website, it has received 21 applications for drug and vaccine authorizations related to COVID-19. Several vaccines have been authorized for use in Canada, including the AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Others, such as one from a company called Novavax, are still under review. 

Transport Canada did not immediately respond to PolitiFact’s questions about the post, but as of July 21, its website no longer included the language about medical trials that was highlighted in the post. 

The site now says, "COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada (Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)) are considered compatible with Transport Canada Aviation Medical Certification."

The site still says the department doesn’t ground pilots who wish to take those vaccines. 

The earlier wording on the site about medical trials was in response to pilots asking if they could take part in vaccine trials Health Canada had organized before some vaccines were approved for general use in the country, a spokesperson for Transport Canada told AFP

"Now that Health Canada has approved the vaccines, the comment regarding medical trials is less relevant and we have elected to remove that statement," the spokesperson said to AFP.

We rate claims that pilots who are vaccinated against COVID-19 can’t fly False.

 

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No, Canada isn’t banning pilots from flying if they get a COVID-19 vaccine

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