New rules going after blockade financing an overreach, critics say
Published February 15, 2022 at 12:46 pm
TORONTO — The federal government is expanding financial routes to crack down on the trucker protests in a move that some are calling heavy-handed.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Monday that the government would require crowdfunding platforms to report to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada to better track potential funding of what she says are illegal blockades.
The move, to be made permanent and which includes cryptocurrency-based funding, will allow Fintrac to make more information available to police and other enforcement agencies, she said.
Freeland said that under the Emergency Act, the government has also authorized financial institutions to cut off services to both individual and business clients who they suspect are aiding the blockades, and that federal institutions will also help provide information to identify those involved.
Kim Manchester, managing director of financial intelligence training company ManchesterCF, says that flagging accounts in this way could financially ruin those targeted and make it difficult for them to get any financial services in the future.
He says that the new powers, which allow banks to suspend accounts without a court order and protects them from civil liabilities, go too far given the threat posed by the protestors.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2022.
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