CBSA worried blockades could threaten ‘Canada’s economic security,’ Emergencies Act inquiry hears | CBC News


The Canada Border Services Agency worried last winter’s border blockades might cause a “threat to Canada’s economic security and prosperity,” according to documents tabled at the Emergencies Act inquiry.

The threat assessment was found in a CBSA situational report dated Feb. 14 — the day the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act.

“There has been a significant operational impact that may result in a threat to Canada’s economic security and prosperity,” it reads.

The CBSA put together situational reports every day between Jan. 27 and at least Feb. 14, giving an overview of protests at border crossings, including at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., and the crossing at Coutts, Alta.

A package of those situational reports was made public as part of the Public Order Emergency Commission.

The Feb. 14 report is the only situational report that contains the line. The other reports consistently reported that there were no credible threats identified for any of the ports of entry and that the overall threats to personnel and infrastructure were low.

Commission lawyers asked former CBSA president John Ossowski about why that line was only in the Feb. 14 situational report when he sat for an interview in August. 

Anti-mandate protesters are removed by police at a blockade of the Ambassador Bridge border crossing, in Windsor, Ont., on Feb. 12. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

A summary of that conversation was made public Wednesday.

Ossowski, who has since retired, said he didn’t know.

Another CBSA official, Christine Durocher, told the commission the line about an economic threat might have been erroneously omitted from previous situational reports. Durocher is the regional director general of the CBSA’s southern Ontario region.

“The interviewees did not know if the change related to the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act,” said the interview summary.

The commission is assessing whether the federal government met the legal threshold to invoke the Emergencies Act to clear Ottawa of protesters last winter.

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