This content is not available in your region

Factbox-Canada's Emergencies Act: What it would allow to quell protests against pandemic measures

Access to the comments Comments
By Reuters
Factbox-Canada's Emergencies Act: What it would allow to quell protests against pandemic measures
Factbox-Canada's Emergencies Act: What it would allow to quell protests against pandemic measures   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will inform provincial premiers of his intention to invoke special measures to give the federal government extraordinary powers to deal with protests that have gridlocked the capital Ottawa, CBC News said on Monday.

The “Freedom Convoy” protests, started on Jan. 28 by Canadian truckers opposing a vaccinate-or-quarantine mandate for cross-border drivers, have turned into a rallying point for people opposing Trudeau’s government policies covering everything from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions to a carbon tax.

The demonstrations shut down a main economic corridor between Canada and the United States for six days before it was reopened on Sunday.

WHAT IS THEEMERGENCIESACT?

Previously known as the War Measures Act, the Emergencies Act has been used only three times in Canadian history: during the two world wars and in 1970 by Trudeau’s father, the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, after militant Quebec separatists kidnapped a British diplomat and a provincial Cabinet minister.

Trudeau considered using the Act at the start of the pandemic.

WHATDOESTHEACTALLOW?

By invoking the act, the federal government can authorize special temporary measures, including domestic travel restrictions, to ensure safety and security during national emergencies anywhere in Canada.

A declaration of a public welfare emergency allows the government to regulate the distribution of essential goods, decide what are essential services and impose fines on violations of the act. It sets out a compensation scheme for those who suffer damages as a result of its application.

HOWCANTHEACT BE INVOKED?

Invoking the act requires parliamentary review. Any temporary laws made under the act are subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That means any attempt by the government to suspend the civil rights of Canadians, even in an emergency, can be challenged in court.