Federal government invokes Emergencies Act for ‘illegal’ blockades

Federal government invokes Emergencies Act for 'illegal' blockades

The federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act to bring to an end to antigovernment blockades in Ottawa and across the country.

This is the first time the Emergencies Act has been invoked since it came into force in 1988.

The act grants the federal government to apply the following temporary measures:

— Regulating and prohibiting public assemblies, including blockades, other than lawful advocacy, protest, or dissent.

— Regulating the use of specified property, including goods to be used with respect to a blockade.

— Designating and securing places where blockades are to be prohibited (e.g. borders, approaches to borders, other critical infrastructure).

— Directing specified persons to render essential services to relieve impacts of blockades on Canada’s economy.

— Authorizing or directing specified financial institutions to render essential services to relieve the impact of blockades, including by regulating and prohibiting the use of property to fund or support the blockades.

— Measures with respect to authorizing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to enforce municipal and provincial laws by means of incorporation by reference.

— The imposition of fines or imprisonment for contravening on any of the measures declared under the public order emergency.

Passed in 1988, the Emergencies Act is intended for use when:

— an urgent and critical situation, temporary in nature, endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians;

— the capacity or authority of provinces to handle the situation is considered lacking; and

— the crisis cannot be defused effectively using other Canadian laws.

It also permits the regulation or prohibition of any public assembly expected to lead to a breach of the peace.

Once invoked, the Emergencies Act requires holding a public inquiry within 60 days after the crisis has ended, and the resulting report being tabled in Parliament within one year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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