Here’s what you need to know about the truck convoy moving into Ottawa today

The first vehicles from a trucker convoy protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health measures are expected to arrive in Ottawa today.

Ottawa police and Ontario Provincial Police are urging residents to avoid highways 416 and 417 this weekend, along with downtown Ottawa, as the “freedom convoy” arrives on Parliament Hill.

Ottawa Public Health has closed two vaccination clinics in the Glebe and Lowertown in anticipation of traffic disruptions this weekend.

According to the Canada Unity website, a convoy of truckers and supporters will depart Kingston, Ont. at 8:30 a.m., arriving in Ottawa at 12 p.m.

Kingston police said Thursday evening that approximately 300 transport trucks and support vehicles will be departing Kingston for Ottawa.

“A reminder that while less disruptive, approximately 300 transport trucks and support vehicles will be turning right to go northbound on Gardiners Rd. and then eastbound on Hwy 401 at approximately 8:30 a.m. (Friday, January 28),” said police on Twitter.

Convoys from western Canada are scheduled to arrive in Arnprior, Ont. late Friday afternoon, before travelling into downtown Ottawa Saturday morning. Convoys from eastern Canada will roll into Vankleek Hill this evening, before completing the journey to Ottawa on Saturday morning.

What is the Freedom Convoy?

The freedom convoy is calling for the end of vaccine mandates in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On January 15th, a small team of Alberta truckers, their family members and friends, came to the decision that the Government of Canada has crossed a line with implementing Covid-19 vaccine passports and vaccine mandates,” said a statement Wednesday on the Freedom Convoy 2022 Facebook page.

“As of today, we now have the support of millions of Canadians from across the country.”

The list of demands includes the federal and provincial governments terminating the vaccine passports and all other “obligatory vaccine contact tracing programs”, and terminate COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The protest was initially sparked by outrage over a vaccine mandate imposed this month on cross-border truckers, but has since garnered support from anti-vaccine mandate groups.

Police urge motorists to avoid Ottawa highways, the downtown area

Ontario Provincial Police are urging motorists to avoid Hwy. 416 and 417 this weekend as the ‘Freedom Convoy’ arrives in Ottawa.

In a message on Twitter Thursday, the OPP said, “OPP advises motorists to avoid travel on Hwy 417 and Hwy 416 in the Ottawa area, beginning Friday afternoon and on Saturday.”

Police don’t know how many demonstrators are expected to arrive in Ottawa.

The Ottawa Police Service is asking people not to travel in Ottawa this weekend, and if you do travel to expect delays.

“Expect major disruptions to traffic throughout Ottawa and especially in the downtown core. If you have appointments, children in activities, are expecting food deliveries, please be prepared to adjust your plans,” said Ottawa police.

Ottawa police are working with the RCMP, OPP, the Parliamentary Protective Service and other local police forces.

OC Transpo

The city of Ottawa warns OC Transpo and Para Transpo service may experience delays this weekend due to the convoy.

Stay up to date on the latest transit information by visiting octranspo.com.

Freedom Convoy routes on Friday

Here is the schedule for the ‘freedom convoy’ moving into Ottawa and eastern Ontario on Friday, according to the Canada Unity website.

Kingston to Ottawa 

The convoy is scheduled to depart Centennial Drive in Kingston at 8:30 a.m. and travel to Angelo’s Truck Stop at Hwy. 401 and Hwy. 416.

It will depart Angelo’s Truck Stop at 11 a.m. and arrive at Parliament Hill at 12 p.m.

The convoy is scheduled to travel along Hwy. 401 to Hwy. 416, then along Hwy. 416 to Hwy. 417. There is no word on the route the convoy will take from the Queensway to Parliament Hill.

North Bay – Pembroke – Arnprior 

Trucks travelling along the west route are scheduled to arrive in Pembroke and Arnprior today.

According to the Canada Unity website, the convoy will arrive in Pembroke at 4:30 p.m., and then travel along Hwy. 17 to the Antrim Truck Stop in Arnprior, arriving at 6 p.m.

The convoy is scheduled to depart the Antrim Truck stop at 11 a.m. Saturday, travel along Hwy. 17/Hwy. 417 to Ottawa and arrive at Parliament Hill at 12 p.m.

Arriving in Vankleek Hill 

The Canada Unity website says trucks travelling along the east route will arrive in Vankleek Hill on Friday.

The convoy is then scheduled to depart 21160 Service Road in Vankleek Hill at 10:30 a.m. Saturday for Ottawa.

Canadian Trucking Alliance

The Canadian Trucking Alliance has made it clear it does not support “any protests on public roadways, highways and bridges.”

In a statement last weekend, the association noted the vast majority of the Canadian trucking industry is vaccinated.

“The Government of Canada and the United States have now made being vaccinated a requirement to cross the border. This regulation is not changing so, as an industry, we must adapt and comply with this mandate,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski.

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