The disclosure comes from an inquiry of the ministry which compelled the government to divulge how many accounts were seized or frozen when the Liberals invoked the Emergencies Act to euthanize the Convoy to Ottawa in February.
The inquiry, posed by Conservative MP Kyle Seeback of Dufferin-Caledon, also asked if the government has set up any fund or compensation program for individuals or businesses that have their accounts frozen as a result of an error or mistaken identity.
The Emergencies Act, a new never-before-deployed piece of legislation, was used to break up the peaceful Convoy to Ottawa protest that settled into the streets of the nation's capital for nearly four weeks to oppose vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers and other remaining lockdown restrictions. The Act gave unprecedented powers of search, seizure, arrest and detention to police to target anyone involved in the protest or giving material support to it.
The Ministry of Finance, headed by Chrystia Freeland who invoked the new powers to compel banks to seize accounts, responded that the department had no information about anyone who suffered because their accounts were frozen:
The government is not aware of anyone who has suffered losses due to accounts being wrongly frozen following names being shared by law enforcement or independent action taken by financial institutions. Section 48 of the Emergencies Act contemplates in certain circumstances the award of reasonable compensation to any person who has suffered loss, injury or damage as a result of any thing done under a proclamation, order or regulation issued pursuant to the Act.
RCMP responded that the police force targeted 18 individuals and 39 vehicles with disclosures to financial institutions — 257 accounts in total were frozen:
Under the Emergency Economic Measures Order, the RCMP can confirm 57 disclosures were made to entities as defined in section 3 of the Order.
18 disclosures were made on individuals, while 39 disclosures were made on vehicles that were actively participating in the illegal blockades, but the owner or operator could not be identified through direct observation. Based on all information at the financial institutions’ disposal, including but not limited to RCMP information, a minimum of 257 financial products were frozen.
The Liberals use of the Emergencies Act is currently under review.