The investigation into Ottawa’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act during last winter’s protests will be delayed until October due to a health concern.
The Public Order Emergency Commission was due to begin hearings on September 19 but will now be postponed to October 13, a statement from the commission said on Friday.
Six weeks have been scheduled for the hearings, so they will end on November 25. The commission has until mid-February to submit its report.
The delay is due to Commissioner Paul Rouleau undergoing surgery.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act in February amid border blockades and the occupation of downtown Ottawa by protesters demonstrating against the Trudeau government and COVID-19 vaccination mandates .
There is a legal requirement to establish a public review panel to review the decision to use the Emergencies Act. A parliamentary committee is also separately conducting its own study into why the law was invoked.
Police forces, Freedom Convoy organizers and all three levels of government are expected to testify at the hearings. Parties with commission status were notified of the delay on Friday afternoon.
Roleau said in a statement that he was committed to completing the commission’s work “on schedule.”
“Commission staff, with the cooperation of all parties, have made significant progress over the past few weeks in obtaining and reviewing documents, conducting interviews and preparing for the start of public hearings.”
“I want to assure Canadians of my commitment to completing the work of the Commission in a timely manner,” Commissioner Rouleau said in a statement. Notes “significant progress” in obtaining and reviewing documents, conducting interviews, and preparing for the start of public hearings.
— Rachel Aiello (@rachaiello) September 2, 2022
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 2, 2022.