The police chose not to enforce the federal emergency law moves to suspend the car insurance policies of all participants in the Freedom Convoy protest last year, according to the Report of the Public Inquiry into the 2022 State of Public Order Emergency.
“The obligation to cease all activity [with clients involved in the Freedom Convoy protests] under the [Emergencies Act] was not limited to banks and credit unions,” Emergency Public Order Commissioner Paul S. Rouleau briefly commented in a 2,000-page report released Friday. “It applied to a wide range of financial institutions, including insurance companies when it comes to car insurance.
“However, these provisions were ultimately not enforced, as the RCMP did not distribute its designated person lists to insurance companies. Law enforcement officials feared the suspension of insurance policies would make it difficult for protesters to leave, as they would not be able to drive their uninsured vehicles.
“In the circumstances, the RCMP felt that this would do more harm than good.
Rouleau conducted a mandatory investigation into the use of the emergency lawwhich was enacted in 1988, but had never been used until February 2022. Around this time, a series of nationwide protests against public health measures enacted to combat the COVID-19 pandemic culminated in the so-called Freedom Convoy.
“The convoy was a loosely organized gathering of groups that traveled across the country to Ottawa, entrenching themselves there for three weeks and demanding a sweeping change in government policies,” as the report describes.
After several weeks, the federal government invoked federal law emergency law steps to begin driving protesters out of Ottawa, some of whom traveled to town in private commercial vehicles.
On February 14, 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Crystia Freeland announced the federal government’s original intent: “We are advising you today: If your truck is used in these protests, your business accounts will be frozen. Your vehicle insurance will be suspended. Send your semi-trailers home.
The announcement created some confusion within the P&C insurance industry.
Several well-known provincial laws govern the termination provisions of an auto insurance policy, including notice periods. It was not clear if the emergency law have taken precedence over provincial laws for the termination of automobile insurance, which include the sending of registered letters to insureds.
Additionally, the requirements for reinstating a car insurance policy were unclear, said Bryan Yetman, president of First Durham Insurance. Canadian underwriter at the time of Freeland’s announcement.
“It’s not clear to me – when they say ‘hanging blankets’ does that mean the blanket is hanging while the platforms are part of the protest?” said Yetman. “What happens when [protestors driving the rigs] start saying, ‘Okay, okay, we’re going to go home now, we’re going to leave town,’ he posed. “Is coverage immediately restored? »
Related stories: Are Freedom Convoy truckers covered? Are businesses covered for damage caused by the Freedom Convoy?
In the end, it didn’t matter, as Rouleau pointed out in his report, because the emergency law did not apply to P&C insurance.
THE emergency law measures were applied to the banking sector, with which the police shared information on people participating in the demonstration in two streams.
In one stream, police passed information to banks about protesters being criminally investigated for their activities. In another, they shared information about people participating in the protest. Regarding the second stream, if people left the protest, their information was not shared. Banks checked information to see if the protester was a customer and in some cases froze their bank accounts.
“The Department of Finance also received aggregate reports from the RCMP,” Rouleau wrote in his report. “Based on these reports, the Ministry of Finance estimated that in total, approximately  accounts, worth about 8 million Canadian dollars, have been frozen….
“It is important to note that although approximately 290 accounts were frozen, fewer than 290 individuals or entities were affected, as in some cases multiple frozen accounts belonged to the same individual. Indeed, an update indicates that the RCMP provided financial institutions with a list of 57 individuals or entities representing a total of 240 financial accounts that were no longer involved in the protests.
Photo courtesy of iStock.com/PaulMcKinnon