The Department of Transport employed lawyers to teach the travel industry how to turn down religious Covid-19 vaccine exemptions. 

Access to Information documents titled Federal Vaccine Mandate: Guidelines On Requirements acquired by Blacklock’s Reporter revealed government lawyers coached airlines to doubt exemptions on solid grounds. 

“In other words a temporary exemption by one airline does not automatically allow the passenger to connect with a different airline or to transfer modes, e.g. from train to plane or from one airline to the next,” explained the memo. 

“These types of exemptions are anticipated to be granted very rarely,” a subsequent communication claimed. 

The Nov. 30 memo preceded the Liberal government’s decision to ditch vaccine mandates that barred millions of unvaccinated Canadians from boarding a domestic or international flight in June. 

One memo titled Managers’ Toolkit For The Implementation Of the Policy On Covid-19 Vaccination instructed airlines to “focus on the sincerity of the individual belief rooted in religion” in declining the exemptions. 

“Leaders and members of many religious and religious denominations have released public statements indicating their support for the Covid-19 vaccine,” the department wrote. 

“Religion typically involves a particular and comprehensive system of faith and worship as well as the belief in a divine, superhuman or controlling power. ‘I don’t believe in vaccination’ would not in itself be a reason.” 

“They must explain how vaccination would conflict with their religious belief in a way that is not trivial or insubstantial, meaning being vaccinated conflicts with the genuine connection with the divine,” the memo elaborated. 

Additionally, government officials cited a “number of false empirical beliefs” about vaccines that are not “grounds on which a temporary exemption can be granted.” 

“For example, a conviction the Covid-19 vaccine contains aborted human or animal fetal cells or that DNA is altered by mRNA vaccines is empirically incorrect and should not be used as a rationale for the granting of a religious exemption even were this belief is sincerely held or rooted in religion,” the department explained.

Throughout the pandemic, the federal government approved 26% of all religious exemptions for the Covid-19 vaccine. Out of 2,042 applications, 540 were granted. 

A recent arbitration ruling out of Ontario found that a Catholic nurse who was fired from Public Health Sudbury had a right to an exemption and that her employer erred in declining her.