The trade group for Canada’s biggest banks on Wednesday said lenders will work to carry out an emergency order from the government to freeze bank accounts for truckers and their parent companies involved in illegal blockades to protest COVID-19 requirements.
The Canadian Bankers Association said its members will “diligently implement” measures laid out by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to impose 30-day suspensions of bank accounts associated with the protest.
Banks and insurance companies will have to perform their own due diligence on finding key sources of funding for the protests, officials said. The Canadian government continues to work with banks to identify accounts and execute the emergency order.
These emergency measures were laid out Monday by Trudeau, who invoked a 1988 law called the Emergencies Act, which includes the Emergency Economic Measures order curtailing financial transactions and other measures. The action paved the way for police to clear roadways blocked by the protestors.
For its part, the Canadian Bankers Associations said financial service providers covered by the federal Emergencies Act will need to implement the required measures. The CBA added that its actions “are not expected to impact the vast majority of customers,” according to a statement Wednesday.
Looking ahead beyond the temporary ban, Canadian officials said Wednesday financial institutions have the option to decide whom they do business with, as long as they adhere to rules that guarantee access to banking services.
“TD has asked the court to accept the funds, which were raised through crowdfunding and deposited into personal accounts at TD, so they may be managed and distributed in accordance with the intentions of the donors, and/or to be returned to the donors who have requested refunds but whose entitlement to a refund cannot be determined by TD,” spokesperson Carla Hindman told CTV.
A TD spokesperson did not reply to an email from MarketWatch.
Gofundme said on Feb. 5 it will refund all donations to the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser on its platform. The company’s platform had collected $10 million, according to reports.
Another crowd funding service called GiveSendGo allowed a Freedom Convoy fundraiser to collect money for the trucker protestors, but that page was hacked on Monday, The Washington Post reported.
Canada repealed 1914’s War Measures Act and in 1988 and passed the Emergency Act to allow the federal government to take temporary measures to respond to public welfare emergencies and wars.
The Freedom Convoy 2022 mission was to protest the Canadian government’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements, and attracted international attention after truckers blocked the Ambassador Bridge between Canada and Detroit, before being cleared out by officials over the weekend after they snarled supply lines for the auto industry.