Freedom Convoy protesters face suspended insurance, frozen accounts under Emergencies Act

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The federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in history as it looks to break up Freedom Convoy protests that have occupied Ottawa and blocked border crossings.

With that move, the federal government introduces the powers to compel tow truck operators to clear blockades, freeze protester bank accounts, and apply terrorist financing rules to crowdfunding companies that have been used to support the protests.

Freedom Convoy
Freedom Convoy protesters have been occupying downtown Ottawa since Jan. 29. (File photo: Madalyn Howitt)

“If your truck is being used in these illegal blockades, your corporate accounts will be frozen, the insurance on your vehicle will be suspended,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a related news conference. “Send your semi-trailers home. The Canadian economy needs them to be doing legitimate work.”

The move comes as hundreds of trucks continue to occupy the nation’s capital, since they arrived Jan. 29. Ontario also declared a state of emergency on Feb. 11, after protesters blocked the Ambassador Bridge for almost a week. That bridge – the busiest commercial crossing in Canada – has now reopened, following the arrest of more than two dozen demonstrators.

Protests continue to block border crossings at Coutts, Alta., and Emerson, Man., while demonstrators have also appeared in cities including Edmonton, Toronto, Quebec City, and more.

While the Coutts blockade continues, Alberta RCMP did arrest 11 protesters on Feb. 14, seizing a variety of weapons including 13 long guns, handguns, body armor, high-capacity magazines, and a large quantity of ammunition. That occurred before the Emergencies Act was introduced.

The various convoys are opposing all manner of pandemic-related restrictions.

“Over the past several weeks, illegal blockades and occupations have disrupted the peace in many communities across Canada, and have hurt our economy. Today’s declaration of a public order emergency is an extraordinary measure that is time-limited, and that will ensure that we restore peace in our communities,” said Attorney General David Lametti.

“I want to thank the vast majority of truckers who are on the job right now and have been doing the essential work of keeping our supply chains moving – each and every day,” said Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, noting that blockades are threatening shipments of livestock and perishable goods.

“While we respect the rights of all Canadians to protest, the unlawful occupation of major border crossings must end. Our hardworking truckers are essential to the function of our agriculture and food supply chains and to the efficiency of our economy.”

Welcomed by CTA

The move was welcomed by Canada’s largest trucking association.

“These illegal blockades have had a detrimental impact on our members and customers’ businesses. These blockades have also had a very significant negative impact upon our professional driving community,” said Stephen Laskowski, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. “Order must be restored to our borders and critical infrastructure that are being blocked.”

Several premiers, however, have said the rules are not needed in their jurisdictions, and expressed concerns that the federal move will inflame situations.

“The Emerson border situation is very different than the one faced in Windsor,” Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said in a statement. “While the situation is very different in Ontario, this ultimate federal legislation should only be considered on a measured and proportional basis, in locations where it is truly needed.”

Ontario had previously announced potential fines of up to $100,000, up to a year in jail, and seized commercial and personal licences for those who block critical infrastructure including 400-Series highways, airports and railways.

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • When is the gov and the trucking companies going to look at the problems with driver treatment and pay Some of us are queens Park including myself. Many truck drivers at the protest had 2 or 3 shots and were there because of Elogs and because they were not able to make things work because of health issues or other problems not able to make it work and stay safe.

  • Of course the trucking associations are against protests and blockades – they are in the politician’s back pockets

  • Trudeau could remove the Vaccine Mandates, to easily solve the problem, but no, he would sooner create division!
    We no longer need vaccine mandates when 90% of the population is vaccinated and the balance may have had Covid and have better immunity then those vaccinated.

    Consider Truckers and nurses have worked for 2 years, and now they are set up on, ridiculous, and just plain vicious.

  • Thank You John for your article . . . People are awakening . . . We are at a cross-roads & personal choices have to be made . . . Hopefully, you are following your path & not someone else’s . . . I wish you well . . . David Byers aka 1 Eye

  • Seriously, John. You and I both know who owns and controls the CTA. The big trucking companies.
    Perhaps what you NEED to do is spend your time studying 1) The Charter of Rights and Freedoms 2) The Civil Liberties Act 3) How the Emergencies Act is WRITTEN and not followed by the Trudeau Government 4) The Liberals plan to shut down Parliament next week during a Serious Government issue that they they gave birth to A) the Wuhan Virus B) the Lockdowns C) the Vaccine Mandates.
    If you are truly interested in helping solve the situation investigate the Truckers side of the story–not just them but, ordinary Canadian Citizens too and best of all # ONE investigate who/what is supplying such divisive rhetoric to Trudeau and what do they stand to gain?
    Let’s see you report some real answers to these outstanding questions. As a student of Criminal Law, I was taught to study BOTH sides of an issue. After 40 years in the Transportation Industry, I have witnessed both sides of the windshield.

  • I cant believe you of all people are in Trudeau back pocket this communism. This Emergency act has never been invoked before in History. This act is meant for war acts not cavil peaceful protest. Unbelivable that you are on this heinous dictators side.