Can Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Really Freeze Bank Accounts?

The Emergencies Act has never been used before. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau plans to use the Emergencies Act to try to freeze bank accounts that are tied to the protests.

Robin Hill-Gray - Author

Feb. 15 2022, Published 1:41 p.m. ET

Prime Minister Trudeau
Source: getty Images

Trudeau speaks at NATO summit

Truckers in Canada are protesting pandemic mandates that require them to be fully vaccinated to avoid quarantine when they renter the country from the U.S. Truckers are calling for the end of the vaccine, mask, and quarantine requirements. They're also calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In response, Trudeau is calling to freeze their bank accounts, but can he do that?

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Truckers have created a blockade of pick-up and commercial trucks at the Ambassador Bridge, which is the busiest border crossing between the U.S. and Canada. According to ABCNews, the bridge is crucial to Canada's food and goods sector and accounts for 25 percent of all trades between the countries. Nearly $328 million (417 million Canadian dollars) in goods cross the bridge daily. Trudeau has invoked what sources are calling his "most aggressive" response to the protest.

Candian protestors
Source: Getty Images

Protestors gather in Ottawa, Ontario

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Can Trudeau really freeze bank accounts?

Trudeau has enacted the Emergencies Act in an attempt to stop the protests. In a statement, Trudeau emphasized his belief that the protests are now causing economical harm to the country and placing public safety at risk. The evocation of the Emergencies Act has permitted banks to freeze the funds of any person who might be receiving funds on behalf of the protest. This includes personal and corporate accounts and canceling any insurance that's linked to trucks that are involved in the protests as well.

As reported by Reuters, Toronto Dominion Bank has already frozen two personal accounts that received $1.1 million (1.4 million Canadian dollars) on behalf of the protests. The act also gives the government the power to evacuate people and their personal property from certain areas where protesters are and use the services of other businesses to help remove protestors. However, military involvement is the last resort for Trudeau.

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According to Financial Post, Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister, said, “The government is issuing an order with immediate effect under the Emergencies Act, authorizing Canadian financial institutions to temporarily cease providing financial services where the institution suspects that an account is being used to further the illegal blockades and occupations.”

Source: YouTube

Prime Minster Justin Trudeau evokes

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A crowdfunding platform linked to the protests was hacked.

Canada is including crowdfunding platforms as part of its anti-money laundering and "terrorist financing" law efforts. The Deputy Prime Minister also said that the current illegal blockades have revealed that payments from crowdfunding sources are “not fully captured under the proceeds of crime and terrorist financing act.” Any crowdfunding platform is reportedly now required to register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

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Currently, GiveSendGo is the platform that's being used the most to raise these funds. However, the platform was hacked and the personal information of over 90,000 donors was released. The hacker claimed, “If you are doing some fascism and domestic extremism kinds of movements [then] you are not going to have a good time because hacktivists have been focusing more and more on countering domestic extremism.”

Despite the hack, the platform released a tweet and expressed that it doesn't intend to comply with any restrictions or rules that the Canadian government is trying to implement on crowdfunding platforms.


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