Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act will enable him to take unprecedented action in quelling the Freedom Convoy protests that took to the nation’s capital of Ottawa and inspired similar blockades elsewhere across the country — and even internationally, in Paris, Brussels, Wellington, and Canberra, among others.
At the event, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that measures are being taken to curtail the funding of the ongoing protests, which includes both crowdfunding platforms as well as digital assets and cryptocurrency.
“In invoking the Emergencies Act, we are announcing the following immediate actions: first, we are broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules so that they cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use,” said Freeland.
“These changes cover all forms of transactions including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. Illegal blockades have highlighted the fact that crowdfunding platforms and some of the payment service providers they use are not fully captured under the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act,” she said.
“Our banks and financial institutions are already obligated to report to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or FINTRAC,” Freeland continued. “As of today, all crowdfunding platforms and the payment services providers they use must register with FINTRAC and they must report large and suspicious transactions to FINTRAC.”
“This will help mitigate the risk that these platforms receive illicit funds, increase the quality and quantity of intelligence received by FINTRAC, and make more information available to support investigations by law enforcement into these illegal blockades,” she said.
“We are making these changes because we know that these platforms are being used to support illegal blockades and illegal activity which is damaging the Canadian economy. The government will also bring forward legislation to provide these authorities to FINTRAC on a permanent basis,” she said, noting that the measures will exist well after the blockades have ended.
Under the Emergencies Act, Freeland said that the government is ordering financial institutions to cease providing financial services to anyone supporting the blockades, “where the institution suspects an account is being used to further the illegal blockades and occupations.”
“This order comes both personal and corporate accounts,” she stated, adding that the government has ordered banks to review their relationships with anyone involved in the blockades and report them to the authorities.
As of today, any bank or financial service provider will be able to immediately freeze or suspend any account without a court order and will be protected from civil liability “for actions provided in good faith.”
“This is about following the money,” stated Freeland. “This is about stopping the financing of these illegal blockades. We are today serving notice. IF your truck is being used in these illegal blockades, your corporate accounts will be frozen. The insurance on your vehicle will be suspended. Send your semitrailers home. The Canadian economy needs them to be doing legitimate work not to be illegally making us all poorer.”