Federal government awards up to $6.9 million to Windsor, Ontario for costs of Ambassador Bridge blockade

The federal government is reimbursing Windsor for the millions the southwestern Ontario city spent on the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge earlier this year.

Ottawa is giving Windsor up to $6.9 million for the costs of the blockade, including policing services that helped « restore public safety to the bridge and surrounding areas, » the minister said Thursday. Public Safety, Marco Mendicino.

During an announcement in Windsor, Mendicino said the amount will depend on the total cost to the city, which will be discussed.

The government said the illegal blockade by people protesting the COVID-19 pandemic mandates had led to layoffs, factory closures and[endangered] our international reputation. The money will cover the costs of managing and lifting the blockade.

Mendicino was joined Thursday by Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, Liberal Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk, NDP Windsor West MP Brian Masse and other city officials.

Access to the bridge was blocked on the evening of February 7 by truckers and others protesting the warrants.

A court injunction prohibiting anyone from blocking access to the bridge was granted on February 11 and the blockade was lifted on February 13.

The city has since requested compensation.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, center, announced federal support of up to $6.9 million to the City of Windsor on Thursday, Dec. 29, for expenses related to the Ambassador Bridge blockade that closed the international border crossing for a week. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

In April, the federal government committed a total of $2.5 million for businesses affected by the blockade, with approximately 240 businesses eligible to apply for non-refundable funds of up to $10,000 each for costs not covered by other other federal programs.

The response to the blockade cost the city $5.7 million

Earlier this year, the city of Windsor asked the federal and Ontario governments to reimburse $5.7 million spent responding to the week-long blockade.

The figure was included in a letter from Dilkens to Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Premier and Federal Finance Minister, and Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy on March 15.

“The support of the OPP and the RCMP has been essential in ending the occupation peacefully and safely, and the commitment your governments have shown at the time has helped support all, myself included, who were dealing with the emergency unfolding in our community, » Dilkens wrote. « I ask you to reaffirm this commitment with the appropriate financial support the City of Windsor needs to cover the costs associated with removing the illegal occupation. »

In an interview with CBC News in March, Dilkens said about $5.1 million of the total was related to policing.

windsor convoy removal
Some protesters moved their vehicles at the request of police on February 12. The blockade was lifted the following day. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

A cost breakdown obtained by CBC News shows police department costs included $2.5 million in overtime, $1.3 million for jersey barriers and $540,000 each for meals and accommodation .

An additional $130,000 was paid to bring in the London Police Service (LPS) for support and $100,000 was spent on miscellaneous policing costs.

The breakdown also shows the city paid:

  • $108,000 for public works salaries and equipment.
  • $40,000 for Transit Windsor, including wages, fuel and lost revenue.
  • $37,000 for EMS Essex-Windsor salaries and supplies.
  • $25,000 for Windsor Fire and Rescue Services.
  • $250,000 in legal fees (Dilkens said these were related to the injunction).
  • $15,000 for parks and facilities costs.
  • $80,000 in community support.


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