Photography by Naomi McKinney, Dillon Kydd, and Kirk Slow

What Happened?

November 2021 The Canadian federal goverment announces that starting in January cross-border travel will require a vaccine passport, even for truckers who are considered essential workers. This is considered controversial because the trucking industry is already experiencing a shortage of truckers driving up the cost of transport of essential goods like food that Canadians rely on to be imported from the US during the winter.
January 2, 2022 Brigitte Belton plans the 'Convoy to End the Mandates' as a sychronized collection of slow-roll protests and announces it on TikTok. She also recruits regional volunteer road captains to register drivers and map out routes. Chris Barber is one of these road captains.

"This isn't just for truckers. We're in the big vehicles, and everybody is going to see us, but it's not just about us. This is for every last person who's been affected by the mandates."

Brigitte Belton, organizer with Freedom Convoy 2022

Wednesday January 12 The federal government announces that they will be dropping the mandate for truckers to be vaccinated to cross back over the Canadian border. This seems to indicate that the government is heeding the warnings of industry experts.

Thursday January 13 The federal government reverses their position. Starting January 15, Canadian truckers will be required to show proof of vaccination or quarantine for 14 days on re-entry to Canada. (source)

James Bauder of Canada Unity and Pat King propose joining their planned 'Operation Bear Hug' with the 'Convoy to End the Mandates'. The new plan involves travelling to Ottawa, and a new name is coined: 'Freedom Convoy 2022'. The alliance is tenous, and the original 'Convoy to the End the Mandates' organizers reject the 'Memorandum of Understanding' that Canada Unity had published.
Friday January 14 Tamara Lich launches a GoFundMe campaign to provide fuel, food, and lodging for convoy participants. The original fundraising goal is $20,000. By January 25th the GoFundMe campaign will have raised over $4.5 million. (source)

"I'm seeing Canadians coming together like I have never seen before."

Tamara Lich, organizer with Freedom Convoy 2022

Saturday January 15 The vaccine mandate for international truckers comes into effect.
Thursday January 20 Alberta Premier Jason Kenney urges the federal government to extend vaccination mandate exemptions for truckers.
Saturday January 22 Freedom Convoy 2022 from Prince Rupert BC commences.
Sunday January 23 Freedom Convoy 2022 West commences in Vancouver BC, heading east to Ottawa.
Monday January 24 Increasing shortages in Alberta highlight ongoing supply issues and the inflationary impact of a looming trucker shortage. Trudeau defends the vaccine mandate for truckers, saying getting vaccinated is "the best way to continue to prevent interruptions in our supply chains". (source)
Tuesday January 25 Media sources report that GoFundMe has frozen access to donated funds. GoFundMe confirms that it has temporarily blocked access to the funds due to international banking regulations, which is standard procedure for them. In fact, the first payment of $1 million will be released on January 28th. (source)
Wednesday January 26 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes a speech in anticipation of the protesters arriving in Ottawa. His words become extremely well-quoted, and are turned into slogans by convoy supporters.

"The small fringe minority... who are holding unacceptable views that they're expressing do not represent the views of Canadians."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Thursday January 27 Newfoundland Freedom Convoy 2022 joins Nova Scotia Freedom Convoy and both head west to join in Ottawa. A convoy from Windsor also starts towards Ottawa.

Trudeau says that he will be self-isolating for five days in an undisclosed location, after being exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. (source)

Several smaller protests take place at the capital. Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly confirms that the protests have all been peaceful. (source)
Friday January 28 Convoy departs from south of Montreal to join Ottawa protest. (source)

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly gives on update on preparations for the demonstration. (source)

"The demonstrations this weekend will be unique, fluid, risky, and significant. These demonstrations are national in scope, they're massive in scale. Unfortunately, they're polarizing in nature and they come almost two full years into a highly stressful and tragic global pandemic."

Peter Sloly, Ottawa Police Chief

Saturday January 29
The convoys arrive in Ottawa and the massive demonstration officially begins. Parliament Hill is packed with tens of thousands of truckers and other protesters.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says that he will end Saskatchewan's proof-of-vaccine requirement in the "not-too-distant future". (source)

"...Because vaccination is not reducing transmission, the current federal border policy for truckers makes no sense. An unvaccinated trucker does not pose any greater risk of transmission than a vaccinated trucker."

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe

Sunday January 30
Media outlets report that protesters "desecrated" the National War Memorial. Ottawa Police later clarify that although two vehicles were briefly parked on the stairs leading to the memorial, both drivers moved their vehicles when asked to.

Ottawa Police as well as protester organizers arrange to have the National War Memorial watched and protected.

"In 40 [years] of politics I have never seen main stream media so united against any protest group in such a disgusting way. If there is one violent protester or one physical threat that will be all the media reports."

Stockwell Day, former Conservative MP

Monday January 31
Parliament resumes following a six-week break. Some truckers leave, but many are determined to stay.

Trudeau makes an address from isolation, disparaging the Freedom Convoy protesters. He characterizes them as sporting "Nazi symbolism" and "racist imagery". He refuses to meet with the protesters, despite participating in other protests such as Black Lives Matter. (source)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson speculates whether the city can use some of the funds collected in the GoFundMe campaign to cover the cost of policing. He estimates the cost as over $800,000 per day. (source)

An Angus Reid poll shows the majority of Canadians (54%) say it's time to end all pandemic restrictions and allow people to manage their own level of risk. This is up 15% compared to a similar poll earlier in January. (source)

"Freedom means getting back to the things that they used to enjoy. And the way to be able to do that is to get vaccinated."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Tuesday February 1
The Ottawa Police Service make two arrests related to the Freedom Convoy. We learn on February 3 that the people arrested were not actually protesters, and that protesters and volunteer security personnel made the initial report to the Ottawa Police. (source)
Wednesday February 2
GoFundMe confirms that the Freedom Convoy fundraiser is the second-largest ever in Canada, with donations reaching over CA$10 million. GoFundMe also pauses the fundraising campaign to ensure it complies with its terms of services and applicable laws and regulations. (source)

Protest organizers issue a press release to address Ottawa residents' concerns about the ongoing protests, but they say they will stay "as long as it takes". (source)

Erin O'Toole resigns as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, after the Conservative causus votes in favour of his removal.

"The fastest way to get us out of the nation's Capital, is to call your elected representatives and end all C-19 mandates, as the UK did two weeks ago and as both Sweden and Switzerland did today."

Chris Barber, organizer with Freedom Convoy 2022

Thursday February 3
Freedom Convoy holds a press conference. No level of government has yet spoken to them directly. (source)

A House of Commons committee voted unanimously to have GoFundMe testify "as soon as possible" to learn about the source of the funds and what safeguards are in place to ensure the money isn't used to "promote terrorism." (source)

"As a woman with Métis heritage, a mother and a grandmother, I am offended. The reality is that members of this freedom movement are average peace-loving and law-abiding citizens from all walks of life, who are fed up with being disrespected and bullied by our government."

Tamara Lich, organizer with Freedom Convoy 2022

Friday February 4
GoFundMe announces that it won't be giving the remaining $9 million raised to the organizers, and that instead it will distribute the money to other charities. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson takes credit for influencing GoFundMe, thanking them for "listening to the plea made by the City and the Ottawa Police to no longer provide funds to the convoy organizers." Later on February 8 he will reaffirm his and the city's role in eliminating the GoFundMe. (source)

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly holds a press conference. He says that police will be implementing a "surge and contain strategy" to deal with the protesters. (source)

Preliminary data reports that street crime in downtown Ottawa has dropped since the protests began, in spite of media and politicians' claims. (source)

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms says in a statement that it has learned that closed-circuit televisions in downtown Ottawa have been turned off for the duration of the demonstrations. They ask city officials to restore the live feed for safety reasons. (source)

"We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity."

GoFundMe Statement on the Freedom Convoy 2022 Fundraiser (2/4/2022)

Saturday February 5
Thousands of protesters are back in Ottawa to protest mandates and restrictions. New arrivals include a farm vehicle convoy.

GoFundMe maintains their position that they won't release the fundraiser funds to the Freedom Convoy. However, they start automatically refunding all donations to donors, instead of reallocating them to other charities. (source)

The Freedom Convoy organizers set up an alternate fundraising campaign with GiveSendGo. The site is overwhelmed with traffic and crashes frequently, but raises over $1 million in the first 24 hours. (source)
Sunday February 6
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declares a state of emergency over the trucker convoy, citing "serious danger" from protesters. Police say that anyone attempting to bring supplies such as gas to the demonstrators after midnight on February 7 could be subject to arrest. (source)

Dozens of heavily armed police raid the truckers' supply base on Coventry Road and confiscate at least one tanker of fuel. Since many families are camping in the trucks, loss of fuel poses a major risk of exposure in the winter weather. (source)

Police arrest seven people throughout the day on mischief charges. One of these is a 78-year-old man who is ticketed and arrested for honking his horn in support of the protest. According to his laywer, he is bruised, cut, and traumatized. (source)

"In a free and democratic society that is governed by the rule of law, citizens can freely associate with each other, including the giving and receiving of goods and gifts. There is no law that would allow the Ottawa Police to arrest people for giving fuel or food to another Canadian."

Nicholas Wansbutter
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
Legal Representation for Freedom Convoy organizers

Monday February 7
An Ontario court hears arguments in a $10 million lawsuit filed by an Ottawa resident against the truckers' "Freedom Convoy" for damages allegedly caused by the honking of horns during the ongoing protests. Judge Hugh McLean grants a 10-day injunction to stop truckers in the Freedom Convoy from honking their horns. This is a temporary ruling while he hears more evidence. (source)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson holds a special meeting with the city council. During the meeting Watson describes the truckers' demonstration as "an aggressive and hateful occupation of our neighbourhoods," adding that the honking of horns heard intermittently during the protests in the city's downtown core is "tantamount to psychological warfare." (source)

GiveSendGo says that the Freedom Convoy campaign is its largest ever. There is also a tremendous amount of pushback, including over ten million bots trying to overwhelm their servers. (source)

"Truckers have taken a whole trailer full of food to the homeless shelter. [Truckers are] maintaining the cleanliness of city streets, including picking up discarded masks on the ground, centralized garbage collection, shoveling snow at the War Memorial and the Terry Fox statue, and decorating and providing security for the War Memorial and Terry Fox statue."

Witness statement
Zexi Li v. Chris Barber et al.

Tuesday February 8
Liberal MP Joel Lightbound says at a press conference that he disagrees with his own party and that those voicing legitimate concerns shouldn't be villified. He resigns from his position as the chair of the Quebec Liberal Caucus. The next day another Liberal MP, Yves Robillard, will follow his lead. (source)

City Manager Steve Kanellakos says that all tow-truck operators on contract with the City of Ottawa have refused to move the protesters' heavy vehicles from the downtown core. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson starts reaching out to other cities across Ontario. (source)

The Quebec government announces a plan to lift most COVID-19 restrictions by March 14. Masking and proof-of-vaccination requirements will stay in place. (source)

Ottawa Police Services says they have arrested 23 individuals on various charges, some in relation to the transportation of gas. All were charged under "mischief". (source)

"From a positive and unifying approach, a decision was made to wedge, to divide, and to stigmatize. I fear that this politicization of the pandemic risks undermining the public's trust in our public health institutions."

Joel Lightbound, MP for the Louis-Hébert riding in Quebec City

Wednesday February 9
The organizers of the Freedom Convoy hold a press conference to refute labels of 'insurection' and 'sedition' promoted by CNN, MSNNC, and Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly. (source)

"At no time, has anyone involved in the core group of the Freedom Convoy asked for anything other than their Charter rights to be restored, the rule of law in Canada to be respected, and the mandates that arbitrarily discriminate against them and usurp their Charter rights be stopped."

Keith Wilson
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
Legal Representation for Freedom Convoy organizers

Thursday February 10
An Ontario Superior Court of Justice orders that all donations made through the "Freedom Convoy 2022" and "Adopt a trucker" campaigns on the GiveSendGo platform be frozen until further notice. The campaigns have raised more than $8 million. (source)

Interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen presents a motion calling on the government to table a plan for the lifting of all federal mandates and restrictions. She also tells the protesters that they've been heard, and they should leave. (source)

By this point more than 1,500 tickets related to the protests have been issued by the Ottawa Police. Most of them are noise complaints. (source)
Friday February 11
Ontario Premier Doug Ford declares a 42-hour state of emergency in Ontario over the ongoing trucker protests in Ottawa as well as the border blockage in Windsor. (source)
Saturday February 12
Brian Peckford, former Premier of Newfoundland and the last surviving architect of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, delivers a speech at the Freedom Convoy rally. He previously (Jan 26) filed a lawsuit against the federal government, challenging the Constitutional merits of the Trudeau administration's mandates restricting travel for Canadians with a COVID-19 vaccination. (source)

A counter-protest begins with a demonstration by hundreds of people marching through the Ottawa suburb of Glebe. (source)

"Let us declare to the world today that we have a right to be right here. Let us declare to the world and to the prime minister and all the premiers of Canada that we have rights and freedoms that they cannot take away from us."

Brian Peckford, former Premier of Newfoundland

Sunday February 13
The counterprotest escalates, with twenty protesters blocking a major intersection in an attempt to keep vehicles from driving to the city center. By mid-afternoon there are an estimated 1,000 people surrounding a line of trapped pro-trucker protest vehicles. (source)

Overnight the GiveSendGo website is hacked. A manifesto that scrolls on the main page condemns the platform and the protesting truckers and declares the platform 'frozen'. A file containing over 90,000 names, email addresses, postal codes, and ISP addresses is posted on a leak site. We will learn later that no credit card information was leaked, and no money was stolen, but convoy supporters will be harassed, doxxed, and some will lose their jobs. (source)
Monday February 14
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that he is invoking the Emergency Measures Act for the first time in Canadian history. The federal government will have temporary powers to help them disperse ongoing blockades and protests. The premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island state that they don't support the use of the act. (source)

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announces a number of measures to reduce funding to the protests. These include broadening anti-money laundering measures to crowdfunding platforms and digital currencies. Banks will also be able to freeze accounts of entities involved in the protests. (source)

TD Bank confirms that it has frozen two bank accounts that held $1.4 million in deposits to support the trucker-led protests. TD has applied to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for permission to return the money to donors who have not received a refund, although TD admits that they can't verify the legitimacy of these claims. To this date, none of the money donated to the group through either GoFundMe or GiveSendGo has been accessible. (source)

"It is no longer a lawful protest at a disagreement over government policy. It is now an illegal occupation. It's time for people to go home."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Tuesday February 15
Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly resigns. City councillor Diane Deans introduces Deputy Chief Steve Bell as the interim police chief, noting that the board's priority is to put in place a plan to bring about the peaceful end to the ongoing protest. (source)

Wednesday February 16
Ottawa Police distribute a notice telling protesters they must leave or face charges. (source)

Freedom Convoy protesters hold a press conference, saying that the emergency proclamation allows for peaceful protest, which they have been doing. Any "illegal order" to the police to stop them from protesting amounts to "tyranny". They also plead with media to simply tell the truth, instead of shaping a narrative. (source)

"All Canadians should be surprised, no matter your political opinions, that the federal government has resorted to such an extreme and authoritarian measure like the Emergencies Act, and that the government wants to use force against a peaceful demonstration."

Daniel Bulford, former RCMP officer
Spokesman for Freedom Convoy organizers

Thursday February 17
Ottawa Police make several arrests, including Freedom Convoy organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber. (source)

Police set up fences and barriers at 100 checkpoints in downtown Ottawa to establish a secured area from Bronson Ave to the Canal, and from the Queensway to Parliament Hill. They make sure only those working in the area, or police and medical emergency services, are allowed in. (source)
Friday February 18
The House of Commons sitting is cancelled in preparation for expanded police operations. (source)

Police officers on foot advance on crowds to push them away from a designated secured area. As the day progresses the pressure increases; pepper spray is deployed into the crowds and two protesters are knocked down by mounted police. (source)

By the end of day over 100 protesters have been arrested and 21 vehicles have been towed.

"One of Freedom Convoy Canada drivers had his truck windows smashed by Ottawa Police, guns drawn & dragged out of his vehicle by force. It's time to leave. Ottawa Police please allow the remaining trucks to leave in peace."

Benjamin Dichter
Freedom Convoy organizer

Saturday February 19
Law enforcement continues to close in on the main site of the protest, wearing helmets while wielding batons and pepper spray. At this point 170 arrests have been made, 22 license plates have been seized, and 53 vehicles have been towed. (source)

A group of 23 Jewish scientists, doctors, and academics issue an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying they are "deeply concerned" about how he has been describing protesters in Canada. (source)

Freedom Convoy organizers say that many truckers feel that the best course of action for them and their families is to withdraw in order to avoid further harm. They announce their intention to peacefully withdraw. (source)

"It's a dark day in our history. Never in life would I believe anyone if they told me that our prime minister would refuse dialogue and choose violence against peaceful protesters."

Tom Marazzo
Retired military officer
Spokesman for the Freedom Convoy


Unvaccinated Canadians are not permitted to travel by air or by train, with very limited exceptions. This measure is temporarily suspended on June 20, 2022.

All federal employees in the Core Public Administration and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who did not get vaccinated or refused to disclose their status have been place on unpaid leave. This measure is temporarily suspended on June 20, 2022.

Unvaccinated truck drivers crossing borders are required to submit to a COVID test before entry, after entry, and quarantine for 8 days. As of June 20, this is still in force.

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