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Immediate Support for Ottawa Businesses Impacted by Demonstrations

February 8, 2022

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, Government of Canada

Doug Ford, Premier, Government of Ontario

Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa


Dear Leaders,

Immediate Support for Ottawa Businesses Impacted by Demonstrations

The Ottawa Board of Trade is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan association. We are the voice of business and key advocate for economic growth in our Nation’s Capital. Our mission is to cultivate a thriving world class business community in Ottawa by influencing economic development through leadership and partnerships at every level of government. We have been advocates of the measures developed by our government and health officials to manage the pandemic, protect our community, and expedite our economic recovery. We work closely with our local business leaders and stakeholders as well as our Chamber colleagues at the provincial and federal level to support effective and informed decision making.

On February 1, 2022, we released a statement “calling on the Government of Canada, the City of Ottawa and demonstrators occupying downtown Ottawa to immediately find a peaceful resolution; end the demonstrations and free the businesses, employees and residents who have been adversely impacted for the last four days.” Today, we urgently call on you to work together and appoint the necessary resources to immediately and peacefully end the demonstration for the purpose of preserving the global reputation of our nation’s capital, allowing downtown businesses and their employees to survive, and giving the residents of downtown Ottawa back their home.

For over two years, many of these downtown businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic counter measures causing low customer counts, labour shortages and supply chain issues. Government programs have helped but not replaced their ability to operate consistently and at capacity. The demonstrations have further burdened them, forcing many to close completely and eroding business, customer, and employee confidence. Employees are not able to work at all or are working under duress and uncertainty. All of this at a time they were planning to reopen, some incurring unrecoverable costs such as perishable inventory and most not able to access any government programs for this time of closure.

The Ottawa Board of Trade is calling on the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Ottawa to work together to provide adequate and immediate financial support for Ottawa businesses impacted by the demonstrations so that they may survive, support their employees, and contribute to our economic recovery and community wellbeing.

Lastly, we need to come together as a community. Many local business leaders note that the negative rhetoric that abounds on social media, including political leaders calling out their peers and the leadership of police services in the middle of an unprecedented crisis is detrimental. There will be an appropriate time to assess the response to the convoy. Now is the time to come together as a community, support our police and other civic leaders, and work together to get this situation resolved.

Please reach out directly if we may be of service to you in supporting our businesses. We remain committed to working with you and our business community to ensure a healthy, equitable and sustainable recovery in Ottawa and across Canada.


Sueling Ching
President & CEO | Ottawa Board of Trade



Ottawa City Councillors
Ottawa Members of Provincial Parliament
Ottawa Members of Parliament
Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce