A timeline of events before and after the Liberals invoked the Emergencies Act

By Laura Osman and David Fraser, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The Public Order Emergency Commission is tasked with understanding what led the Liberal government to invoke the Emergencies Act to clear protests against COVID-19 mandates and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that gridlocked Ottawa streets and several border crossings.

Here is a timeline of events contained in testimony and documents at the public inquiry.

Nov. 19, 2021

The Public Health Agency of Canada announces new border measures will be imposed in early 2022 requiring Canadian truck drivers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the country in order to avoid quarantine rules.

Dec. 5 -10

A convoy organized by James Bauder arrives in Ottawa and attempts to deliver a “memorandum of understanding” to the Senate.

Jan. 13, 2022

Canadian officials confirm new border measures will come into effect on Jan. 15 requiring that Canadian commercial truckers entering Canada be vaccinated to avoid quarantine rules.

Pat King hosts a Facebook livestream to discuss early plans for a convoy to Ottawa.

The first mention of a ‘Freedom Convoy’ is made in a ‘Project Hendon’ report, which the Ontario Provincial Police shares with other police agencies.

Then-Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly learns about the “Freedom Convoy” through an intelligence report prepared by the Ontario Provincial Police.

Jan. 14

Protest organizer Tamara Lich creates the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser on GoFundMe.

Jan. 18

Chris Garrah creates the Adopt-A-Trucker fundraiser on GiveSendGo.

Jan. 21

Daily Project Hendon teleconferences begin.

Jan. 22 – 23

The convoy departs British Columbia for Ottawa.

Jan. 23

A convoy of transport trucks, cars and other vehicles slows traffic on Huron Church Road in Winsdor, Ont.

Jan. 26

Sloly briefs the police board and city council about the convoy.

Jan. 27

Convoy participants depart Nova Scotia for Ottawa.

Trudeau cites “a small fringe minority” and “unacceptable views” when discussing the convoy during televised remarks.

Convoy protesters begin to arrive in Ottawa.

The Ottawa Police Service actives the National Capital Region Command Centre.

Jan. 29

Sloly is told that about 5,000 vehicles, many of them heavy trucks, and upwards of 15,000 protesters descend on Ottawa, mainly downtown, and local police become overwhelmed.

The Rideau Centre mall in downtown Ottawa closes.

The Shepherds of Good Hope shelter in downtown Ottawa reports harassment of staff and clients by protesters.

A convoy of approximately 9,000 people and 200 trucks converges on Edmonton.

A convoy of approximately 1,000 vehicles leaves Lethbridge, Alta., for the Coutts border crossing, stopping traffic in both directions on Provincial Highway 4.

Jan. 30

Sloly speaks with the Ottawa city solicitor and city manager about obtaining a legal injunction against the protesters.

Jan. 31

A Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser is created on GiveSendGo.

Feb. 1

GoFundMe releases $1 million from the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser to organizer Lich’s bank account.

In a meeting with Sloly and other senior officers, Ottawa police deputy chief Patricia Ferguson asks about the possibility of the military being called in, according to minutes submitted as evidence.

Feb. 2

GoFundMe announces it has paused the fundraiser, pending review.

City and police lawyers meet to discuss seeking an injunction.

Sloly says during a press conference he was “increasingly concerned there is no policing solution to this.”

One lane of traffic is opened at the Coutts border crossing in Alberta. RCMP prepare bidirectional escorts between police checkpoints and the crossing. Traffic passes through the Coutts blockade slowly and with multiple interruptions over the next few days.

Feb. 3

Organizer Lich says at a press conference that protesters will remain until all public health mandates are removed.

GoFundMe terminates the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser and says it will refund all donors. Lich directs donors to the GiveSendGo campaign.

Ottawa’s city solicitor writes to the police service’s lawyers to confirm an injunction will not be needed, but requests further information in case the city decides to move for an injunction.

Ottawa resident Zexi Li launches a class action against protest organizers and participants on behalf of her fellow residents.

Protests take place across Toronto, including around the provincial legislature building.

About 1,000 protesters assemble around the provincial legislature in Winnipeg.

Feb. 5

Slow-roll protests take place around the Ottawa International Airport.

More than 1,000 people protest at the provincial legislature in Edmonton, and 2,500 vehicles get involved in various parts of the city. The Edmonton protest disperses by 5 p.m.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 people hold a rally in Calgary involving 20 vehicles.

Protesters converge around the legislative assembly in Regina.

Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver makes a written request to federal ministers Bill Blair and Marco Mendicino for use of Canadian Armed Forces tow trucks to remove protesters at the Coutts border.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki tells Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Thomas Carrique the federal cabinet is highly concerned and the federal government is losing, or has lost, confidence in Ottawa police, according to text messages entered as evidence.

Feb. 6

The City of Ottawa declares a state of emergency.

Sloly meets with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and police board chair Coun. Diane Deans to tell them he needs an additional 1,800 officers, plus extra resources.

Protesters in Windsor tell police they will block the Ambassador Bridge border crossing if COVID-19 health measures are not lifted by the following day.

Protesters in Sarnia, Ont., block access to the Bluewater Bridge border crossing. Access to the bridge is sporadic in following days.

Feb. 7

Sloly publicly announces his request for 1,800 officers from other police agencies.

Watson and police board chair Deans request assistance from the Ontario and federal governments, seeking the 1,800 officers.

Li’s court action obtains an injunction from the provincial Superior Court of Justice to stop horn honking in the Ottawa core.

Protesters block the Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor using vehicles. Border operations are suspended.

Windsor activates its emergency operations centre.

Most of the protesters at the provincial legislature in Regina leave.

Feb. 8

Protest organizers meet with Ottawa city manager Steve Kanellakos.

Ontario Provincial Police and RCMP planners arrive in Ottawa to assist the local force.

An OPP liaison team arrives in Windsor.

Protesters re-establish a full blockade of the Coutts border crossing in Alberta.

Feb. 9

Representatives from the Ottawa protest, including Tom Marazzo, Keith Wilson and Eva Chipiuk, meet with police.

Secondary access to the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor is fully blocked by end of day.

Protests on the highway to the Blue Water bridge in Sarnia cause delays, though the border crossing remains open. Disruptions continue in following days.

Windsor police make a formal request to the Ontario and federal governments for extra police resources and heavy tow trucks.

Feb. 10

Watson is contacted by Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s ex-chief of staff, Dean French, who offers to facilitate a discussion with convoy organizers. French is put in touch with the mayor’s chief of staff, Serge Arpin.

The Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association and the City of Windsor apply for court injunctions concerning the Windsor bridge blockade.

An estimated 50 to 75 vehicles block Provincial Trunk Highway 75 in Winnipeg, stopping traffic from crossing the border.

The Ontario attorney general obtains an order restraining certain funds, including money raised through GiveSendGo.

The prime minister convenes and chairs the first meeting of the cabinet incident response group to address the blockades. Trudeau, federal ministers and law enforcement officials discuss invoking the Emergencies Act.

In the same meeting Lucki says their main priority is clearing the Ambassador Bridge.

Feb. 11

The premier of Ontario declares a state of emergency.

The City of Ottawa applies for an injunction against the protesters over violations of various bylaws.

An Ontario Superior Court justice issues an injunction against continued blocking of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor.

The RCMP asks the Canada Border Services Agency to suspend service at the Coutts border crossing in Alberta.

Trudeau discusses the economic effect of the blockades with U.S. President Joe Biden.

Feb. 12

Watson and protest organizer Lich exchange letters about moving trucks off residential roadways.

Ottawa police announce the establishment of an integrated command centre.

A protest takes place near the Peace Bridge border crossing at Fort Erie, Ont. The border remains open with minimal reported delays.

The Coutts border crossing is closed to traffic.

About 1,000 protesters and 700 vehicles are involved in demonstrations across Edmonton.

The prime minister chairs a meeting of the cabinet incident response group.

Feb. 13

Protesters at the Ambassador Bridge crossing in Windsor are removed following police enforcement. Approximately 44 charges are laid.

A fence around the National War Memorial in Ottawa is removed by protesters.

Counter-protesters block a number of convoy trucks from entering downtown Ottawa. The standoff lasts most of the day.

Organizer Lich sends a tweet to say no deal had been made with Ottawa’s mayor, after media report an agreement to move trucks out of residential areas.

Trudeau chairs a meeting of the incident response group, then meets with his entire cabinet.

Feb. 14

Trudeau meets with all premiers to discuss the possible invocation of the Emergencies Act.

Lucki sends an email to Mendicino’s office, saying she didn’t believe police had exhausted all existing options under the Criminal Code and Ontario’s state of emergency to end the blockade.

The federal government proclaims a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act.

Ambassador Bridge reopens to traffic in the early morning.

The City of Windsor declares a state of emergency.

RCMP seize weapons at the Coutts protest site and lay charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, against a number of individuals. Protesters begin to leave the area.

Ontario Superior Court issues an injunction sought by the City of Ottawa.

Organizer Lich tweets that she has in fact agreed to movement of trucks from residential areas.

Feb. 15

In a meeting with Carrique, Lucki says she had lost confidence in Sloly, and was so concerned with his leadership she was prepared to go directly to Trudeau to have the OPP take over policing the protests.

Sloly resigns and deputy Steve Bell steps in as interim Ottawa police chief.

Police intercept a convoy of vehicles believed to have been travelling to Windsor.

A blockade along Provincial Highway 4 in Coutts is cleared and the border services agency announces service at the border crossing will resume.

The Governor in Council unfurls the Emergency Measures Regulations and the Emergency Economic Measures Order pursuant to the Emergencies Act.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland holds a press conference to outline the economic measures being taken under the Emergencies Act.

Feb. 16

Ottawa council votes to remove Deans as chair of the police board. Three other members of the board resign their positions as a result.

The blockade at the Emerson, Man., border crossing is cleared.

A motion to confirm the declaration of a public order emergency is tabled in the House of Commons.

Feb. 17

Convoy organizers Lich and Chris Barber are arrested separately in Ottawa.

The class-action plaintiffs get an injunction to restrain assets of several convoy organizers, including crowdfunded money and cryptocurrency.

The House of Commons debates a motion to confirm the declaration of a public order emergency.

Feb. 18

Convoy organizers King and Daniel Bulford are arrested separately in Ottawa.

Police begin to clear protesters out of downtown Ottawa.

Federal party leaders agree not to continue debate on the motion to confirm the state of emergency because of the police operations taking place just outside the Parliament buildings. Debate resumes from Feb. 19 to 21. The motion is adopted Feb. 21.

Feb. 21

Convoy organizer Bauder is arrested

The police operation to clear protesters out of Ottawa ends.

A motion to confirm the declaration of a public order emergency is tabled in the Senate.

Feb. 22

The Senate considers the motion.

Feb. 23

The public order emergency is revoked.

The motion to declare the emergency is withdrawn in the Senate

The Ontario state of emergency ends.

In Winnipeg, police deliver a letter to protesters at the provincial legislature warning that those who remain risk arrest, charges and seizure of their vehicles. Most protesters leave.

Feb. 24

The states of emergency in Ottawa and Windsor end.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2022.

Laura Osman and David Fraser, The Canadian Press

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