Thousands greet ‘Freedom Convoy’ in GTA, protest against vaccination mandates heads to Ottawa

Thousands of people lined overpasses, highway shoulders, and parking areas in and around the Greater Toronto Area Thursday, greeting truck convoys as they made their way to Ottawa in the fight against vaccine mandates and other public health measures.

Police in the nation’s capital are now preparing for more than 1,000 trucks and other protesters that are scheduled to arrive from across the country this weekend. Police in Kingston, Ont., counted about 300 trucks and support vehicles on Thursday night.

The Ottawa Police Service is warning about “significant” impacts on traffic beginning Friday. A large police presence is expected in the downtown core and on major highways and roads throughout the region.

Port Hope convoy
Supporters greeted convoy participants in and around the Greater Toronto Area Thursday. (Photo: John G. Smith)

“We ask that members of the public avoid unnecessary travel, especially in the downtown core, this weekend, if possible. If you do travel, plan ahead and expect significant delays,” it added in a related bulletin.

The convoys, billed as a call to end vaccine mandates, comes in the wake of Canadian and U.S. decisions to require border-crossing truck drivers to be vaccinated. The Canadian rules were enacted Jan. 15 and the U.S. rules — the first to be announced — took hold Jan. 22.

Convoy flags
Flags were flying along overpasses and roadways, as the convoy made its way through Ontario (Photo: John G. Smith)

On-road demonstrations have seen trucks assembling under banners of Freedom Convoy 2022, Convoy to End Mandates, and Lockdown Ottawa. A related GoFundMe page, originally launched to help cover food and lodging costs, has now collected more than $6 million, although GoFundMe froze funds until organizers could account for how the money will be distributed. There are multiple reports that the first million dollars has been released.

Milton convoy supporters
Supporters in communities like Milton lined highway overpasses throughout the region. (Photo: Leo Barros)

Protesters supporting the convoy have openly criticized the government, calling for returns to freedom, questioning vaccines, and attacking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Some social media pages were deactivated after individual supporters called for a repeat of Jan. 6 — a reference to the attack on the U.S. Capitol. A group called Canada Unity has drafted a “memorandum of understanding” calling on the governor general and the senate to reverse vaccine mandates.

Most vaccine mandates, such as those that limit access to restaurants, are enacted by provincial governments. The U.S. vaccination mandate also prevents unvaccinated truck drivers from crossing the border regardless of Canadian rules.

anti-vaccine signs on trucks
Many trucks have been outfitted with signs and markings questioning vaccine mandates. (Photo: John G. Smith)

The convoys have seen support on social media from several high-profile Americans including Donald Trump Jr. and Joe Rogan. Elon Musk, who has questioned mandates and wants to bring an electric truck to market, tweeted “Canadian truckers rule”.

“I agree. Almost 90% are vaccinated and they continue to deliver for Canadians. Thank you Canadian Truckers!” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra responded.

Here in Canada, support has also come from prominent Conservative MPs. Thursday night, leader Erin O’Toole released a video linking supply chain shortages at grocery stores to Canada’s mandate.

“If Trudeau’s attack on truckers is allowed to continue, tens of thousands will be unable to work,” he said.

“Two years ago truckers were crossing the border between Canada and the U.S. when no one else was allowed. When no one else would.”

The Canadian Trucking Alliance previously estimated that 12,000-16,000 Canadian truck drivers would be affected by the cross-border mandate, growing to about 30,000 drivers overall with the addition of a U.S. mandate. That estimate was based on broader vaccination rates.

“Now more than ever, our economy needs to be reopened, and we need every sector working in order to recover from the pandemic. I support peaceful demonstrations against these mandates,” Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen said in a related statement.

Trudeau is currently isolating after potential exposure to Covid-19.

Freedom Convoy
Trucks carried markings discussing calls for “freedom” and targeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Photo: John G. Smith)

The Canadian Trucking Alliance, Canada’s largest trucking association, has openly disapproved of the on-road protests.

“The Government of Canada and the United States have now made being vaccinated a requirement to cross the border. This regulation is not changing so, as an industry, we must adapt and comply with this mandate,” CTA president Stephen Laskowski said in a statement before the protests began. “The only way to cross the border, in a commercial truck or any other vehicle, is to get vaccinated.”

truck convoy supporter
(Photo: John G. Smith)
  • This article was updated to include comments from Erin O’Toole and Kingston Police.

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


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  • The Canadian Trucking Alliance does not speak for a majority of truckers and other industry stake holders.
    84% of Canadian Logistics Professionals (Truckers, managment & support) do not belong to, or pay membership dues to the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
    Information available online through press & media releases and via their website suggests the Alliance is a paid by membership, networking organization of like minded businesses & citizens who appear to have limited interests in the plight of their fellow Canadians or the 84% of Truckers who don’t belong to their group.
    The benefits of starting an *association* like this include: tax write offs; private donations; maybe… some grants from the state; prime access to key lobbyists; the ears of elected government employees & federal servants; events; conferences; parties; and, learning seminars which allow members to claim the event they paid to attend provided them industry experience & knowledge
    – it looks good on their resumes when they apply to other CTA affiliates.
    The CTA club holds no governing authority in Canada and represents merely 16% of the Canadian trucking professionals working in Canada as of January 2022. The organization does not represent any of the thousands of American truckers who cross our border every day either. Being heavily based in Eastern Canada, their lobbyists have close ties to the Civil Servants there who seem to hold considerable contempt for their Western counterparts and the tax paying Canadians who pay their salaries.
    So, to recap: 84% of CANADIAN TRUCKERS are NOT members of the *Alliance* that are speaking to legacy & mainstream media on their behalf about the #BearHug. They’re clearly not informed or in touch with the legitimate pain & suffering the majority in their industry do see happening, not only in Canada, but around the world. Can anyone say *fringe*..?
    The Canadian Trucking Alliance, representing 16% of the industry (many of whom don’t have a Class 1 or no longer even drive), turned their back on 84% of their brothers & sisters by denouncing them publicly & trying to make Canadians believe their words & messages of non support for freedom matter. Again, they don’t. Canadians are heading into a THIRD YEAR of Hell, suggesting a picnic at Parliament is no longer a viable way for millions of Canadians to have their voices heard, they are being ignored. The government & fringe groups like these have made it clear they don’t seem to care about Canadians overall, unless it interrupts their drive Earl’s or the airport, right?
    The truckers who don’t belong to the CTA are reaching out to help their unvaccinated brothers & sisters because they have the moxie to do it and they believe in peace, freedom. This global phenomenon is about bodily autonomy, our freedom of movement, an end to child abuse, homelessness, and the staggering addictions the pandemic has brought with it. They are asking for the return of safety, freedom & liberty around the world. Clearly this networking club doesn’t seem to care for anyone who’s not one of them, an elected official, or a lobbyist on the pro side of their agenda. Canadians should not take the word of this alliance on mainstream & legacy media as authority, factual or as having any weight in determining the course of history, the Canadian Constitution or returning Canada to the taxpayers who’ve built it. Don’t let them force their opinions on you, please support the 84% of Canadian truckers who are out there on the highways asking the Governments to step back & give you hope again.
    Thank you for reading my review, and making space in your heart for freedom again, for Canada, for the world. Have a safe & happy day. God bless. – Quoted from Mary Smith, Convoy to Ottawa 2022
    https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=eastern%20canada%20convoy%202022

    • Excellent post Kirby!
      The CTA Does NOT represent the trucking industry.
      CTA Does NOT represent truck drivers, Owner Operators or independent truckers.
      CTA! STOP TALKING! You have no dog in this fight!

    • A lot of truck drivers and owners ops have do nated or gave money to the convoy hoping other issues will be brought to the forefront
      What I do has a volunteer has got more interest in the last 3 days than when I spent 8 weeks camping out at queens Park.

  • Sorry this trucker thing will not work, Trudeau will hide, just like our government does here in the states. Trudeau is the one who hired the truckers, they can not save us we need to take back our offices in every town. Just like Hitllary said it takes a village. Trucker thing is a Soro’s paid Smolletting us with another one of their plans. Trudeau will blame the truckers for the food shortages coming to a theater near you!

  • As a retired trucker myself I want to say thankyou for bringing us Unity. Yes, Unity. I know how hard it is to leave your family and carry freight throughout the country. People have no idea what a trucker goes through. The waiting times are probably the hardest. And we do this day in day out Why? Because we are committed to the people of our country. To have the truckers stick together and bring all of us out of the woodwork is such a thrill for this Canadian to experience. We’ve been feeling we’re standing alone these last two years and you have upped the anti by bringing out the big guns….those beautiful 18 wheelers. You’re what we needed at this time and I thankyou sooo much. The trucking association that is not backing you up I say it’s time they go. If they’re not with us they’re against us and they need to “take off eh?”

  • Wonder why one of the only truck lobbiests for us doesn’t want us to protest I think they work for the government not the owners and drivers I think it was wolf that said we need to start are own group maybe it’s time we do !

    • I agree and have been saying this for the last 2 years. When I and others get calls from major companies at the highest level about what we need to do make things better. This protest could change the industry for the better. I am concerned about some small group may do so wrong, but I am seeing a lot of good people who have lower wage jobs who support us.

    • The OTA or the CTA never represented the truckers. I’ve once pissed an owner of a major trucking company based in the Waterloo region by saying the OTA are backstabbers.

      Also, reality is freight rates are gone sour… as many companies like Loblaws expect people to deliver to next to nothing. But that’s another story of its own.

  • I agree the CTA does not n has not ever represented the driver. They are a distance cousin to the government n lobbyists.
    is my home and for years I have hung my head because we dint fight for our rights.
    This week has brought Canadians together from the West East North n South. Along with some of our American brothers n sisters.
    Today I can say I stand loud n proud to be Canadian. To all the Trucks in the Convoy THANK YOU. I can not participate but I am standing tall with you!

  • Why is it a questionable group is able to raise six million dollars with no clear plan of how to use the money. The same people who contributed to this cause are probably the same people who decline when asked to donate to a local food bank or shelter. Six million dollars would feed a lot of hungry kids.
    What do they think they will accomplish? The US mandate will still be in place. Freight rates are the highest they’ve been in years. Get with it and earn some money.
    As someone said a few days ago, you get choices and freedoms. Some of your choices will affect your freedoms.

  • We the truck drivers and owners did not elect these guys that say they are Canadian truck alliance that they are the voice of Canadian truckers. It is a lie same as Trudeau saying he is for the people is a lie.

    • I talked the C T A about issues that affect truck drivers that we should work together . I feel that if I and others had of worked together we would have a different protest like ones that I have been part of in the past.

  • God bless everyone standing up for freedom. May God open Trudeau’s eyes, give him the desire to unite Canadians, end his dictator mandates and restore freedom to all Canadians.

  • Wish I could join them with the convoy! Hopefully the drivers in the states will get together and do the same thing.

  • Mandates are illegal and against the constitution and general freedoms of all Canadians. Does not matter if there is a virus or not.

  • Wowza better write up then James the tool in the tool box, just end the BS and get back to life, globalist have tried their best but never factored the truckers, who would have thought truckers, big 10-4 of epic portioning, Trudeau under the bed hiding, where’s my mommy!

  • GOD BLESS you, heroic truckers. May evil motives behind vaccine mandates and harmful effects be clearly, undeniably exposed.