OTTAWA — The federal government is broadening the scope of anti-money laundering rules and directing banks to cut off services to those suspected of aiding the trucker protesters as it looks to put an end to what it says are illegal blockades.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland also said in a late afternoon news conference Monday that crowdfunding sites, some of which are being used to channel money to the protesters, will now be required to report to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.
The move, to be made permanent, will allow Fintrac to make more information available to police and other enforcement agencies, she said.
"We are making these changes because we know that these platforms are being used to support illegal blockades and illegal activity, which is damaging the Canadian economy," she said.
Freeland said that under the Emergency Act, the government has also authorized banks to cut off services to both individual and business clients who they suspect are aiding the blockades.
She said the banks would be protected against civil liability in doing so.
The government has directed financial institutions to review their relationship with anyone involved in the blockades and to report findings to the RCMP or CSIS, she said.
"This is about following the money. This is about stopping financing of these illegal blockades."
The measures allow for such actions as an insurer suspending coverage and a bank freezing a truck owner's corporate or personal accounts.
As well as chartered banks and credit unions, Fintrac requires reporting from institutions such as insurers and securities dealers, and from professionals such as accountants and real estate brokers.
Freeland said federal institutions have broad new authority to share information with the banks and work to end funding for the groups behind the blockades.
Canada's big banks did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Canadian Bankers Association declined to comment.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to bring to an end to antigovernment blockades he says are illegal and not about peaceful protest.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2022.
The Canadian Press