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Canada invokes Emergencies Act first time ever to end protests, blockades

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act as an attempt to manage the border crisis.

Although a weeklong blockade of the vital Ambassador Bridge between Ontario and Michigan has been cleared, protesters are

still obstructing

crossings at Emerson, Manitoba (Pembina, North Dakota) and Coutts, Alberta (Sweet Grass, Montana). The most powerful tools presented yesterday were in the financial areas to follow and halt the flow of money from corporations and individuals funding the protests. The measure must be approved by the House and Senate within 7 days. The government likely has enough support for the Act to be implemented.

Financial institutions will now have the power to freeze personal or corporate accounts they believe are being used to fund the illegal protests. “This is about following the money. This is about stopping the financing of these illegal blockades. We are today serving notice: if your truck is being used in these protests, your corporate accounts will be frozen.” Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finance, said.

The public order emergency grants Government the authority to apply the following temporary measures:

  • Regulating and prohibiting public assemblies, including blockades, other than lawful advocacy, protest or dissent.
  • Regulating the use of specified property, including goods to be used with respect to a blockade.
  • Designating and securing places where blockades are to be prohibited (e.g. borders, approaches to borders, other critical infrastructure).
  • Directing specified persons to render essential services to relieve impacts of blockades on Canada’s economy.
  • Authorizing or directing specified financial institutions to render essential services to relieve the impact of blockades, including by regulating and prohibiting the use of property to fund or support the blockades.
  • Measures with respect to authorizing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to enforce municipal and provincial laws by means of incorporation by reference.
  • The imposition of fines or imprisonment for contravening on any of the measures declared under this public order emergency.

For additional details, please click the following links:

Emergencies Act link here.

Press Release link here.

Canadian Chamber Statement link here.

For more information, please call Brian Rowe, Director – Customs Compliance & Regulatory Affairs at (905) 882-4880, ext. 1213.

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