Winter protests in Ottawa and Alberta cost RCMP millions, documents say


The RCMP spent more than $1.6 million on the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, according to a CBC Freedom of Information request.

Documents also revealed the force had spent an additional $1.2 million monitoring protests in Alberta, the majority at the US border in Coutts, Alberta.

In total, the RCMP spent nearly $3 million policing the two protests.

The streets of downtown Ottawa were blocked for weeks as thousands of people converged around Parliament Hill to protest several grievances, ranging from pandemic-related mandates to general contempt for the federal government.

Police eventually succeeded in clearing out the protesters and the tow trucks and other vehicles clogging major downtown thoroughfares.

Police closely monitor demonstrators in downtown Ottawa protesting COVID-19 mandates on January 30, 2022. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

The majority of the RCMP’s security costs processed through its financial system during the Ottawa protests between Jan. 23 and March 1, the documents show, came from travel.

According to the RCMP, this price represents the costs in Ottawa for overtime and travel expenses, including meals and accommodations, processed through the RCMP’s financial system. It shows that in addition to spending $1,606,175 on travel, the RCMP spent $13,000 on accommodation and $6,720 on meals.

A separate RCMP disclosure shows the Chateau Laurier hotel in downtown Ottawa was forcibly used for things like processing arrests during its enforcement actions against Freedom Convoy protesters.

A summary of the hotel’s invoice to the RCMP indicates that $234,995.79 was spent on “events”. The invoice also shows that the RCMP spent $2,700 on 75 hot buffet breakfasts at the hotel.

No additional information is provided. The expenses disclosed by the RCMP do not include regular salary and “overhead costs, including those related to support units.”

Earlier this month, documents released by the City of Ottawa showed its costs from the Freedom Convoy to be in the range of $37 million.

Spending in Alberta

Between January 29 and February 16, the RCMP spent an additional $1,209,430 policing Alberta, most of it at the US border near Coutts.

A somewhat more detailed estimate of RCMP expenditures in Alberta was provided. It shows that $158,858.24 was spent on overtime for members at the border and $34,439.25 on “investigative services”.

RCMP near the Coutts, Alberta border in February. (Nassima Way/CBC)