Toronto

Ontario court freezes access to funds raised for protest convoy on GiveSendGo platform

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has granted a request from the provincial government to freeze access to millions of dollars donated through online fundraising platform GiveSendGo to the truckers' convoy protesting COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa and at several border crossings.

Order applies to 'Freedom Convoy 2022' and 'Adopt-a-Trucker' campaign pages

A statement from Premier Doug Ford's office on Thursday said Attorney General Doug Downey brought the application for the order to prohibit anyone from distributing donations made through the website's 'Freedom Convoy 2022' and 'Adopt-a-Trucker' campaign pages. (Michael Charles Cole/CBC)

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has granted a request from the provincial government to freeze access to millions of dollars donated through online fundraising platform GiveSendGo to the truckers' convoy protesting COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa and at several border crossings.

A statement from Premier Doug Ford's office on Thursday said Attorney General Doug Downey brought the application for the order, under Section 490.8 of the Criminal Code, to prohibit anyone from distributing donations made through the website's "Freedom Convoy 2022" and "Adopt-a-Trucker" campaign pages.

Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for the premier, said the order "binds any and all parties with possession or control over these donations."

Convoy organizers quickly set up a campaign on Christian fundraising site GiveSendGo, after donors initially raised more than $10 million through the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe.

Late last week, GoFundMe said it would stop payments to convoy organizers and refund donors directly because the protest violates its rules on violence and harassment.

The company announced its decision in a blog post on Friday evening, just two days after it froze disbursements of the fund.

Hundreds of the GoFundMe donations to the Ottawa convoy protest came from donors who said they were located outside of Canada, according to an analysis of data collected by CBC News.

The analysis of a sample of more than 6,600 comments made on the GoFundMe crowdfunding page before it was shut down shows that 573 donations, amounting to more than $33,378, came from people who said they were located abroad.

The GiveSendGo campaign has raised $8.2 million US so far.

Also on Thursday, representatives of the Ontario government declined a third invitation to participate in trilateral talks to deal with ongoing vaccine mandate protests, sources told CBC News.

A meeting of representatives of all three levels of government was scheduled for the afternoon.

WATCH | Why GoFundMe cut off protest-convoy fundraising campaign: 

GoFundMe cuts off convoy protest

5 months ago
Duration 2:41
GoFundMe will not disburse any more money from a fundraising campaign for the protest convoy, saying the money will be refunded. Meanwhile, Ottawa police are changing tactics ahead of what's expected to be another weekend of noisy protests.

With files from the CBC's Katie Simpson and The Canadian Press

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