Freedom Convoy protest cost city of Ottawa $36.6 million
Hundreds of trucks remain parked on Wellington Street and surrounding streets in downtown Ottawa on day 10 of the "Freedom Convoy" demonstration in downtown Ottawa. (Josh Pringle/CTV News Ottawa)
The 'Freedom Convoy' protest that occupied downtown Ottawa streets for more than three weeks this winter cost the city of Ottawa and Ottawa police more than $36 million.
City Manager Steve Kanellakos provided an update to council on the costs associated with the "illegal convoy occupation" as of Feb. 28.
Kanellakos says the Ottawa police response cost $35 million, including money for the RCMP deployment in the capital.
"Costs include compensation, vehicle expenses, food, accommodations, and operation supplies," Kanellakos said.
The city of Ottawa's response, including Bylaw Services and public works, is $1.3 million. Kanellakos says the costs do not include any damage/repair estimates for infrastructure.
"City staff and OPS staff are communicating with senior officials at the federal and provincial governments to recover these costs and will make a formal submission for reimbursement of all costs associated with the response," Kanellakos said in a memo to council.
Kanellakos told council last month that he had been speaking with deputy ministers within the federal government on possible funding to cover the costs of the protests.
"They certainly are expecting that we would be submitting the cost of both the federal and provincial, and what I was told is they would work out what an appropriate cost-sharing agreement is to fund us," Kanellakos said, adding Mayor Jim Watson has been speaking with Ontario cabinet ministers.
The 'Freedom Convoy' rolled into Ottawa the weekend of Jan. 28 to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health measures. The demonstration blocked Wellington Street and several roads around Parliament Hill for more than three weeks, forcing several businesses to close.
Ottawa police, with assistance from the RCMP, OPP and municipal police forces across the country, moved in the weekend of February 18, 19 and 20 to remove demonstrators from streets and reopen roads.