The federal government has announced $20 million in support for local businesses in Ottawa that have been impacted by the ongoing blockade due to protests against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health measures.
Several businesses have been forced to shut down amid the demonstrations by the so-called “Freedom Convoy” that has been encamped around Parliament Hill in Ottawa’s downtown core for more than three weeks.
Live: Police continue to remove Ottawa’s trucker convoy blockades
“This $20 million in support from our government will bring much needed relief to heavily impacted Ottawa businesses,” International Trade Minister Mary Ng said at a news conference Saturday.
“No one has the right to illegally occupy our cities, disturb our communities and to cause serious harm by shutting down small businesses and preventing hardworking Canadians from being able to work,” Ng added.
Small businesses frustrated as Ottawa protests persist
Local businesses in the national capital have raised concern about their workers’ safety with staff subjected to harassment by the convoy group. Many have struggled to operate as employees have been unable to access downtown core due to road closures.
‘Can you help us’: Family that died during hike sent final, desperate text
Ottawa police arrest 47 amid push to clear ‘assaultive’ convoy blockade
Liberal MP Mona Fortier, president of the Treasury Board, said the protests have caused “major disruptions” and “generated significant loss of revenue.”
“This is unacceptable,” she said.
Trucker protests: At least $3.2M frozen in connection with demonstrations, feds say
Saturday marked day 23 of the protest in Ottawa. Police have ramped up efforts to clear the demonstration site, vowing to end the “illegal blockades”
More than 100 people were arrested on Friday and at least 21 vehicles were towed, Ottawa police said.
As the security situation remained tense, several businesses in the area said they would remain closed this weekend.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.