The City of Ottawa said thousands of tickets issued during last year’s “Freedom Convoy” protest have not been paid, with only about half of the total value of the fines received after one year.
Between Jan. 28 and Feb. 18, 2022, when protesters gathered at the national capital, officials handed out a total of 3,812 parking tickets and 318 provincial offence notices for illegal parking, including on private property and in no-parking zones, totalling $320,545.
So far, just over $141,000 of that value is still outstanding, reported The Canadian Press.
Unpaid fines can lead to license plate denial or the fines can be transferred to property taxes, garnished from wages, or referred to a collection agency—though it is not clear whether Ottawa has taken any of these steps.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the nationwide protest that began as a protest of the Liberal government’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination mandate for cross-border truck drivers. Other protesters joined at the time in calling for an end to other pandemic restrictions such as mandatory masking.
The protests ended after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—who refused to meet with the protesters—unprecedentedly invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, 2022, giving the police additional powers to clear away the demonstrators, such as compelling tow-truck companies to remove the protesters’ vehicles.
A public inquiry was held last fall into the justification to use the law for the first time since it replaced the War Measures Act in 1988. A final report from that inquiry must be presented to Parliament in February.
The City of Ottawa said the protest cost the municipality about $7 million and the Ottawa police $55 million. The city has asked the federal government to pick up the tab for those costs, but no funding announcement has been made.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced in December 2022 that the federal government will help Ontario’s City of Windsor to pay for the costs of a border blockade that was held at a busy Canada-U.S. border crossing at the Ambassador Bridge, providing up to $6.9 million in federal funding.
The actual amount Windsor will receive is still under discussion, but the city had asked for millions in compensation for the alleged cost of business closures due to the border blockade.
Similar protests shut down border crossings in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and at Coutts, Alberta, as protesters across the country stood in solidarity with those who gathered at the national capital last winter at the height of the Freedom Convoy.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.