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ONTARIO, Canada (JCCF)  The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has submitted an application for participatory standing at the inquiry being held into the declaration of the Emergencies Act by the federal government in response to the February trucker convoy and protest in Ottawa and blockades at various border crossings across Canada.

If the application succeeds, the Justice Centre will have certain participatory rights at the inquiry, which may include a seat at counsel table, the opportunity to make evidentiary, factual and legal submissions, submit policy papers, suggest and cross-examine witnesses, and/or participate in deliberations.

On February 14, 2022, the Government of Canada declared a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act, which was in effect until February 23, 2022. The Emergencies Act requires that an inquiry into the declaration of emergency be started within 60 days.

On April 25, 2022, by Order-in-Council, the Government of Canada created a commission, the Public Order Emergency Commission, which will conduct the mandatory inquiry.

The Commission will examine the circumstances that led to the implementation of the Emergencies Act and the measures taken in response to the emergency. This includes the evolution of the convoy, the impact of funding and disinformation, the economic impact, and efforts of police and other responders prior to and after the declaration.

In the case of a “public order emergency,” which is how the declaration was framed, there is a requirement that the emergency must amount to a “threat to the security of Canada” which includes “acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political, religious or ideological objective within Canada.”

The Justice Centre has extensive experience in constitutional matters, with over a decade of experience and a track record for outspoken defence of Charter rights and freedoms. In addition to our firsthand experience on the ground at the protests in Ottawa, the Justice Centre is uniquely positioned to contribute to the Inquiry and assist the Commission in its critically important work.

The Commission will issue its decisions on participatory standing applications on June 27, 2022.

Reprinted with permission from the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms