Experts warn economic impact of truck convoy protests could be felt for months

First Bite Treats has gone through a lot in the six months since it first opened at Ottawa’s ByWard Market.

Starting this year with a COVID-19 Owner Abdallah Jama said “really dissatisfied”. He hopes to turn the tide in February with the reopening. Then the so-called “Freedom Convoy” went down Parliament Hill.

Jama told Global News: “The business is, frankly, quite tough. His shop was created to attract visitors with changeable touches including a giant pink flower wall with a fluorescent sign that reads “Love at first bite.” to complement his “croffle” creation – a cross between a croissant and a waffle.

First dish.

Provide photos

As a small business owner, he says he can’t afford to close, although his shop, located on Sussex Road, has been a stepping stone from much of the disruption in Parliament. He goes to the store seven days a week, but finds traffic drops and orders difficult because he says Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes drivers don’t want to be stuck in convoy-related traffic .

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Usually, customers come in without a mask, which leads to “some people passing by,” Jama said. That’s just another trouble this business owner has had to deal with for 12 days in a row.

Click to play video:'Economic impact of convoy protests in Ottawa'

Economic impact of convoy protests in Ottawa

Economic impact of convoy protests in Ottawa

Jama and business owners like him in Ottawa suffered collateral damage as the protest dragged into a second week. The city says security costs alone can add up to millions of dollars a day, and observers say the ripple effect on tourism and local business adds to the economic damage.

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A mailbox with an address on Rideau Street is seen next to a truck parked at that location blocking the intersection of Rideau Street and MacKenzie Avenue, as a protest against the COVID-19 restrictions that have been imposed Grid markings and truck horns continue to sound for a second week in Ottawa on February 7.


The City of Ottawa told Global News that the daily policing costs so far have been around $800,000. On top of that is an additional million dollars for city services. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson on Monday requested additional help from the federal and Ontario governments for an additional 1,800 agents that, if approved, would push daily control costs to $2.5 million.

For context, safety and security costs for Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa have averaged $620,000 per year over the past decade. The cost of trucking has eclipsed that.

Impact on tourism, hospitality and retail

Several local businesses and attractions have decided to close amid the protests.

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The Rideau Center, a popular downtown attraction, has been closed since Sunday. In an email, a representative for Rideau Center owner Cadillac Fairview directed Global News to a statement saying that the decision to close has been made because “the authorities cannot make any guarantees that the reopening is safe or that the police service will be able to assist our security officers in maintaining order and safety.” public”.

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The decision affects thousands of employees and 175 businesses in the mall, the largest in the nation’s capital.

“The continued closure of an important community space, the loss of jobs, and the financial impact on our customers is something that has left us heartbroken and sacrificed throughout this pandemic,” said Cadillac Fairview.

David Soberman, a professor of marketing at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, estimates that the costs incurred by businesses in Ottawa alone could result in lost revenue so far at “several hundred thousand dollars.” .

Small business owners are raising funds to help Ottawa restaurants manage “sudden closures, staffing issues and supply chain challenges” as they “decide between making a living and staying safe” safety for their employees as the occupation of the downtown area enters its second week. “The GoFundMe . Campaign has raised nearly $60,000 at the time of publication, with a goal of $250,000.

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This time of year is traditionally supported by visitors to the annual Winterlude festival, which takes place last month Live events canceled for 2022 due to “concerns about COVID-19”.

Concordia University economics professor Moshe Lander said the devastation to the “already battered” tourism and hospitality industry could be felt for months.

“Even if they leave next week, can they come back in a month? Can they come to interrupt the long weekend? “

Lander told Global News that people may consider a besieged capital too risky to visit, which has a deeper economic impact.

“That is a much larger number than any calculation behind the envelope. You multiply it by a factor of 10 or 20 to get a realistic sense of what the long-term impact is,” says Lander.

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Protests have temporarily closed the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit this week though intersections have resumed in at least one direction, with delays. It was the busiest land connection for Canada-U.S. trade.

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According to Dalhousie University researcher Sylvain Charlebois, 45 percent of agricultural imports to Ontario pass through the Ambassador Bridge.

Charlebois told Global News it’s too early to gauge exactly how much higher retail food prices will go. But he expects costs to take a hit “on both sides of the border.”

Towns in Alberta on the US border are another target for convoy advocates. RCMP is available at two locations, one in Coutts, Alta., and one just north of the city.

When asked about the policy tab, an RCMP spokesperson told Global News in an email that “it’s not information that we can provide at this time, especially with resources from other sources.” related parts”. Totals will be provided “at a later date.”

Although the flow of goods across the border with the US has returned, with delays it was previously shut down for 5 days at the Alberta border, starting January 29.

Soberman said the “ripple effect” of delays and backlogs, coupled with existing supply chain troubles, will ultimately cost consumers more the longer this drags on, exacerbating Inflation has already skyrocketed at a rate not seen in three decades.

A protest in Toronto, which targeted Ontario’s legislature in Queen’s Park over the weekend and affected a nearby network of hospitals, Canada’s largest, did not cause much disruption and appeared to ended after two days of demonstrations and protests.

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Soberman said Toronto police, and politicians, “have learned from what happened in Ottawa” and have proactively taken steps to prevent protesters from parking and blocking major roads.

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“They realized that if the convoys were actually established, it would be much harder to move them,” he said.

Although the city of Toronto and the Toronto Police Department said they were unable to provide Global News with cost estimates, Soberman said they were significantly smaller than what Ottawa had to spend.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emerged during an urgent debate in the House of Commons on the situation in Ottawa, as protests over COVID-19 restrictions have been marked by stalemate and truck horns continuing into a second week, in Ottawa in February. 7. CANADIAN PRESS / Justin Tang.


Motion momentum

The Canadian Transport Union rejected the convoy, and the 90% vaccination rate among truckers was comparable to the national average. But the movement, which began with a focus on truckers’ mission to vaccinate, has morphed into something much larger, and now includes all COVID-19 restrictions, from vaccines to face masks. mask.

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It has drawn public support from political leaders including former US president Donald Trump as well as Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Despite GoFundMe’s decision to freeze $9 million of the $10 million raised for the movement, Lander says its popularity should be a wake-up call for Canadians who perhaps think populist politics Dividing drugs are just an American phenomenon.

“We’re seeing a little bit of uncertainty emerging in American politics right now,” he said.

“This could be a major disruption if the government can’t figure out how to get this back under control and unite everyone politically, socially and economically.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. Experts warn economic impact of truck convoy protests could be felt for months


TaraSubramaniam is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. TaraSubramaniam joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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