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Ontario Passes Legislation to Safeguard Movement of People and Goods at International Borders

TORONTO — Yesterday, the Ontario government passed the Keeping Ontario Open for Business Act, 2022, which will protect international border crossings from unlawful obstructions that disrupt the economy or interfere with public safety.

The legislation enables law enforcement to better protect international borders, international airports and other transportation infrastructure that is significant to international trade and shield the economy from future disruptions like the illegal blockade of Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge, which led to temporary factory closures, shift reductions and halted billions of dollars worth of trade.

“The passage of this legislation shows the world that Ontario is open for business and will stay open for business,” said Premier Doug Ford. “International trade is a vital lifeline for our economy which is why we took action to protect our borders from future illegal disruptions so people can keep working, goods can keep moving and businesses can keep producing.”

The legislation also provides police officers with additional enforcement tools to impose roadside suspension of drivers’ licences and vehicle permits, seize licence plates when a vehicle is used in an illegal blockade and remove and store objects making up an illegal blockade.

“Safe and open international border crossings tie Ontario to the world and support hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of trade every day,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “This new legislation gives Ontario the tools we need to protect the livelihoods of workers, manufacturers and job creators across Ontario’s growing economy from any future attempts to block our borders.”

The legislation comes into force today.


Quick Facts

  • The legislation better equips the police to respond to future economic disruptions caused by blockages of border infrastructure that is critical to international trade without having to declare an emergency.
  • Ontario declared a provincial emergency on February 11, 2022, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act in response to impacts of the “Freedom Convoy” protests and unlawful blockades to provide police with temporary powers needed to address the situations.
  • Under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, an emergency is a situation or impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise.

Quotes

“This legislation is another example of the provincial government working for the people of Ontario. It recognizes the importance of a fluid supply chain when it comes to fresh, nutritious and affordable vegetables, as well as the importance of a resilient, accessible food supply system.”

– George Gilvesy,
Chair of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers

“Efficient and reliable cross border trade infrastructure is critical to the automotive industry and the tens of thousands of people it employs in Ontario. We support the Ontario government’s efforts to ensure that international border crossings are protected from future disruptions.”

– Brian Kingston,
President & CEO, Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association

“Competitive international supply chains rely on predictable, reliable access through critical infrastructure corridors. This legislation will help secure Ontario’s automotive suppliers’ jobs and footprint against new emerging threats.”

– Flavio Volpe,
President, Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association


Additional Resources