Passersby who gave anti-vaccine-mandate protesters on Parliament Hill a coffee, or donated $20 to the cause, won’t have their bank accounts frozen under the Emergencies Act, said Finance officials on Tuesday.
“I think it would be unlikely that someone who … gave $20 three weeks ago, or $20 post Feb. 15, that they would have (their bank accountsfrozen),” said Isabelle Jacques, assistant deputy minister with the Department of Finance.
Jacques was addressing the Finance committee on Tuesday about the invocation of the Emergency Act which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Feb. 14.
Conservative MPs Marilyn Gladu and Mark Strahl have both tweeted that people in their ridings have had bank accounts frozen for donating $20 and $50, respectively, to the truck convoy.
I have lady in my riding had her bank account frozen for buying a $20 Freedom Convoy Tshirt https://t.co/7AuRXbThzM
— Marilyn Gladu (@MarilynGladuSL) February 21, 2022
Trudeau invoked the Act to give the federal government more power to limit funding of the anti-vaccine protests in Ottawa and across the country.
READ MORE: Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act in response to blockades
The order directs financial institutions, insurance companies and banks to freeze personal or corporate accounts where the funds are being used to “further the illegal blockades.”
On Monday the RCMP said it did not provide a list of donors to financial institutions to freeze accounts.
“We are now working with the banks to build a process to address the accounts that were frozen,” the RCMP statement read.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Monday that the RCMP had given financial institutions information.
“The RCMP has given … names of leaders and organizers of the protests and of people whose trucks were part of occupations and blockades,” Freeland said.
Jacques told the committee the emergency measures were applied beginning Feb. 15 once the Act was invoked, and the freezing of bank accounts ended on Monday.
Banks and financial institutions had the ability to freeze bank accounts before the Emergencies Act was invoked, if they suspect fraud or illegal activity, Jacques said.
As of Tuesday, over 206 bank accounts were still frozen, with a total value of about $7.8 million. Jacques said it was possible that one person or one entity had more than one account frozen.
Jacques repeated that the Act did not allow for bank accounts to be frozen retroactively or before Feb 15.
“From my perspective (this Act was invoked) solely for people to stop funding illegal activities,” Jacques said.