Over 800 Canadians have been “de-banked” since 2018, including hundreds of Freedom Convoy supporters.
According to figures obtained through an access-to-information request, Blacklock’s Reporter learned of 837 residents whose respective banks closed their accounts over the past half-decade.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada said it only knew of those closures through complaints filed with regulators. While the agency did not explain the closures, the figures said it excluded substantiated terrorism and money laundering.
But among those complaints are 267 bank accounts and 170 bitcoin wallets from Freedom Convoy supporters, with an estimated $7.8 million in holdings.
“We primarily relied upon the names provided by the RCMP but there were obligations under the order separate that required banks to make their own determinations,” testified Angelina Mason, general counsel for the Bankers Association, at a March 7, 2022 hearing at the Commons finance committee.
“We did not rely on external information,” she told MPs.
“Were there accounts of individuals frozen that did not appear on a list of names submitted by banks to the RCMP?” asked New Democrat MP Daniel Blaikie.
Mason replied: “Yes.”
According to federal law, banks can only cancel account holders in cases of alleged criminality.
Section 627.18.1 of the Bank Act permits banks not to “open a retail deposit account on the request of a natural person” in cases of criminality, fraud or “physical harm, harassment or other abuse.”
In February 2022, the Canadian Bankers Association acknowledged that depositors could be flagged for life, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
Mason clarified that once an account is frozen and “eventually unfrozen,” the holder’s file would indicate “a freeze had taken place.”
According to an Inquiry Of Ministry tabled March 21, the federal Freedom Convoy blacklist provided to the RCMP went to domestic and international banks.
“The RCMP offered to act as a conduit of information,” said the Inquiry, who shared the list with the Bank of China, State Bank of India, BNP Paribas of France, Citibank of New York, Habib Bank of Pakistan, Hana Financial Group of South Korea, ICICI Bank Limited of India, Mizuho Financial Group of Japan and Wells Fargo & Company of San Francisco.
The federal police service also distributed the list of Convoy supporters to several stock brokerages, investment firms, and the now-defunct Silicon Valley Bank of Santa Clara.