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‘Freedom Convoy’ in Canada accesses $1M from once-frozen viral fundraiser

GoFundMe releases first batch of funds to trucker convoy protesting COVID vaccine mandates

Truckers makes their way through Vaughn, Ontario, Canada, Thursday, toward the nation's capital in Ottawa, to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers. (Photo: Nate Tabak/FreightWaves)

GoFundMe has distributed CA$1 million (US$783,315) to a trucker convoy in Canada protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Funds for the “Freedom Rally” or “Freedom Convoy” viral campaign — which has raised more than CA$7.3 million — were frozen Tuesday after GoFundMe said it needed to see a plan for how the funds would be disbursed.

Tamara Lich, who set up the Freedom Convoy 2022 campaign on GoFundMe, said funds will be used to reimburse Canadians for gas and food expenses incurred while participating in a rally set to take place in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, on Saturday.

“We have some great news to share with all of you. We have received confirmation that GoFundMe has released our first batch of funds and is initiating our first transfer,” Lich tweeted Friday. “These funds will first assist drivers of all semi trucks and direct support vehicles such as, pilot trucks and/or mechanic trucks in the convoys to Ottawa.”

In a statement to media, GoFundMe said the Freedom Convoy organizers had provided a distribution plan for the funds. 

“The trust and safety of our global community is our top priority. That is why we’re following our standard verification process and working directly with the campaign organizer to ensure the funds are distributed as stated by the organizer and in compliance with the law and our terms of service,” the company said in an email to the media. “Our goal is to protect the generosity of donors and ensure that all donations go to those intended.”

Freedom Convoy 2022 has collected over 90,000 donations since its launch on Jan. 14. The protest convoys emerged in response to COVID-19 vaccination requirements imposed by the U.S. and Canadian governments for cross-border truckers and other essential workers. 

Watch: FreightWaves’ What the Truck?!? podcast talks about the Freedom Convoy protest over cross-border vaccine mandates. 

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]