Canada invokes the Emergencies Act to limit funding of illegal blockades and restore public order

News release

February 15, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

On February 14, 2022, the Government of Canada declared a public order emergency.

The Emergency Economic Measures Order implements the following measures, which come into force immediately and will be in effect for 30 days:

First, the order extends the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing rules to cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment processors they use. This change covers all forms of transactions, including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies.

As of this order, crowdfunding platforms, and payment service providers that are in possession or control of any funds that are owned, held or controlled by or on behalf of anyone involved in the illegal blockades are required to register with and report suspicious or large value transactions to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

Second, the order immediately directs Canadian banks, property and casualty insurance companies, and other financial service providers to temporarily cease providing financial services where the institution suspects that an account – either personal or corporate – is being used to further the illegal blockades. This applies to all funds, including those held in a deposit, chequing, savings, or trading account, and to cryptocurrency wallets, lending products, investment assets, and insurance policies for vehicles used in the illegal blockades.

Third, the government is directing Canadian financial institutions to review their relationships with anyone involved in the illegal blockades and report the assets and related transactions of those involved to the RCMP or CSIS.

Fourth, the order provides federal, provincial, and territorial government institutions with new authority to share relevant information with banks and other financial services providers, if the information will help put a stop to the funding of illegal blockades and illegal activities.

As of now, Canadian financial service providers will be able to immediately freeze or suspend an account of an individual or business affiliated with the blockades without a court order.

These new requirements and authorities will help mitigate the risk that Canadian financial institutions and crowdfunding platforms transact illicit funds, increase the quality and quantity of intelligence received by FINTRAC, and make more information available to support investigations by law enforcement into the illegal blockades. 

Quotes

“Around the world, liberal democracies have been facing serious and sustained threats. We have learned over the past two and a half weeks that Canada is not immune to such threats. These illegal blockades are doing great damage to our economy, to our democratic institutions, and to Canada’s international standing. We will not allow Canada’s privileged trading relationship with the United States to be compromised. We are today serving notice: if your truck is being used in these protests, your corporate accounts will be frozen. The insurance on your vehicle will be suspended. Send your semi-trailers home.”

- The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Quick facts

  • For over two and a half weeks, the occupation of Ottawa’s downtown core has forced businesses to close, restricted the movement of essential workers and goods, and threatened the health and safety of residents. 

  • Since the blockades began at the Ambassador Bridge, over $390 million in trade each day with Canada’s most important trading partner, the United States, has been affected. This bridge supports 30 percent of all trade by road between Canada and the United States.

  • The blockades in Coutts, Alberta, and Emerson, Manitoba, have affected approximately $48 million and $73 million in trade each day, respectively.

  • Under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA), financial institutions and other entities, such as banks, credit unions, and money services businesses, are subject to due diligence and reporting requirements aimed at identifying individuals involved in illicit finance activities.

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Contacts

Media may contact:

Adrienne Vaupshas
Press Secretary
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Adrienne.Vaupshas@fin.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada
mediare@fin.gc.ca
613-369-4000

General enquiries

Phone: 1-833-712-2292
TTY: 613-369-3230
E-mail: financepublic-financepublique@fin.gc.ca

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