Hundreds of truck drivers protesting against the federal vaccine mandate at the Canada-U.S. border have raised more than $5 million in donations from supporters worldwide via GoFundMe, but the fundraising platform has momentarily hit pause on organizers using the money.
The GoFundMe page states that the money raised will be used to finance convoy drivers’ fuel, food, and shelter during the journey, and that any funding left over will be donated to a “credible [Veterans’] organization which will be chosen by the donors.” However, GoFundMe has confirmed that it has temporarily put a hold on the funds in order to verify how they will be dispersed.
“We require that fundraisers be transparent about the flow of funds and have a clear plan for how those funds will be spent,” Rachel Hollis, GoFundMe’s director of communications told CTV News in an email. “Funds will be safely held until the organizer is able to provide the documentation to our team about how funds will be properly distributed.”
The GoFundMe is continuing to accept donations as more truckers join the convoy. As of Jan. 26, there’s been $5,272,240 raised of the organizer’s goal of $6 million.
Currently, truckers from across the country are headed to Ottawa as part of The Freedom Convoy 2022 to protest the COVID-19 vaccine mandate that came into effect on Jan. 15 that requires all travellers, including truck drivers, to be fully vaccinated before crossing the border. “Our current government is implementing rules and mandates that are destroying the foundation of our businesses, industries and livelihoods,” reads the convoy GoFundMe page. “It’s our duty as Canadians to put an end to this [sic] mandates.”
On Jan. 24, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended the mandate at a press conference, saying the policy is the best way to prevent travel-related infections. “We know that about 90 percent of truckers are vaccinated across this country,” he said.
The convoy is expected to arrive in Ottawa on Saturday.