Canadian banks limit funds to truckers’ protest groups

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The trade group of Canada’s biggest banks said on Wednesday lenders would work to enforce an emergency government order to freeze the bank accounts of truckers and their parent companies involved in illegal blockades to protest demands of COVID-19.

The Canadian Bankers Association said its members will “diligently enforce” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plans to impose 30-day suspensions on bank accounts associated with the protest.

Banks and insurance companies will need to do their due diligence to find the main sources of funding for the protests, officials said. The Canadian government continues to work with the banks to identify the accounts and enforce the emergency order.

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Those emergency measures were spelled out on Monday by Trudeau, who invoked a 1988 law called the Emergencies Act, which includes the Emergency Economic Measures Ordinance limiting financial transactions and other measures . The action paved the way for police to clear roads blocked by protesters.

For its part, the Canadian Bankers Association said financial service providers covered by the Federal Emergencies Act will have to implement the required measures. The ABC added that its actions “should not impact the vast majority of customers,” according to a statement released Wednesday.

Beyond the temporary ban, Canadian officials said Wednesday that financial institutions have the flexibility to decide who they do business with, as long as they follow rules that guarantee access to banking services.

TD Bank TD,
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TD,
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Monday, froze $1.1 million in two personal bank accounts to support fundraising and is seeking advice from Ontario courts to return it, according to reports.

“TD has asked the court to accept the funds, which were raised through crowdfunding and deposited into personal accounts at TD, so that they can be managed and distributed in accordance with the donors’ intentions, and/or for be returned to donors who have requested refunds but whose entitlement to a refund cannot be determined by TD,” spokeswoman Carla Hindman told CTV.

A TD spokesperson did not respond to an email from MarketWatch.

Gofundme said on February 5 that it would refund all donations to the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser on its platform. The company’s platform had raised $10 million, according to reports.

Another crowdfunding service called GiveSendGo enabled a Freedom Convoy fundraiser to raise money for trucker protesters, but that page was hacked on Monday, The Washington Post reported.

Canada repealed the War Measures Act of 1914 and in 1988 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 Canadian government demands for COVID-19 vaccines and drew international attention after truckers blocked the Ambassador Bridge between Canada and Detroit, before being evacuated by officials over the weekend after it blocked supply lines to the auto industry. .

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