The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) confirmed that it shut down nearly 40 businesses during its crackdown on Freedom Convoy protesters opposing COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.
In an email to Global News on Feb. 23, Dakota Brasier, a spokesperson for Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, said the ministry had issued 12 seizure orders to Ontario-based large truck operators which suspended them from being allowed to operate within Canada.
The ministry also issued an order to seize all plates registered to them, Brasier said.
Outside of Ontario, the ministry also issued 27 seizure orders to out-of-province large truck operators, which stopped them from operating any commercial motor vehicles in Ontario, Brasier said.
The MTO would not reveal the name of the businesses that were issued with the seizure orders when asked to comment by Truck News.
“In an effort to preserve future police investigations into the illegal occupation in Ottawa, the ministry will not release the names of affected businesses at this time,” a ministry spokesperson told the publication when asked.
The Epoch Times has contacted an Ontario Ministry of Transportation spokesperson for comment.
The confirmation from MTO regarding businesses being shut down came just hours after Ontario Premier Doug Ford lifted the province’s state of emergency.
Ford declared the emergency on Feb. 11 to address the impact of the ongoing protests against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions by trucker conveys who arrived in Ottawa on Jan. 29.
However, Ford’s office said in a statement on Feb. 23 that the “emergency tools” provided to law enforcement would still remain in place for now, “as police continue to address ongoing activity on the ground.”
“We remain grateful to all front-line officers and first responders that contributed to peacefully resolving the situation in Ottawa, Windsor, and in other parts of the province,” the statement said.
Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he was revoking the use of the Emergencies Act, which he originally invoked on Feb. 14 to deal with the protests and blockades, stating that the situation is no longer an emergency.
Trudeau defended utilizing the act in the first place after he faced fierce criticism from opponents, including Canadian politician Mark Strahl, who claimed that the act had resulted in a single mom with a minimum wage job having her bank account frozen after donating $50 to the Freedom Convoy.
Invocation of the act granted the federal government powers to freeze protesters’ and supporters’ bank accounts without a court order.
Trudeau said invoking the act initially was “the responsible and necessary thing to do” and that there was evidence that individuals wanted to “undermine and even harm Canada’s democracy.”
However, prior to the Emergencies Act being invoked, Ambassador Bridge, the busiest Canada-U.S. border crossing which transports products between the two countries, had already reopened.
Meanwhile, blockades at the border crossings in B.C. and Alberta had also ended shortly after Feb. 14, and the biggest protest still ongoing was in Ottawa, yet the government insisted it was still necessary to use the act because there was an ongoing threat that new protests or blockades might pop up again.
After Trudeau’s announcement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said that it was reaching out to financial institutions to unfreeze accounts.
“As of February 21, 2022, the RCMP has gone back to financial institutions with some updated information about certain entities whose status may have changed pertaining to the illegal protest activity,” RCMP said in a statement.
“This new information can be assessed alongside all other information to help inform decisions to unfreeze certain accounts.”
In total, RCMP had frozen at least 206 accounts due to support of the Freedom Convoy, totaling $7.8 million, according to Isabelle Jacques, assistant deputy minister of finance.
Source: The Epochtimes