Fact Check: Canadian Officials Did NOT Report '2.3 Million People ... 130,000 Trucks' At Anti-Vaccine Mandate Protest in Ottawa

Fact Check

  • by: Kaiyah Clarke
Fact Check: Canadian Officials Did NOT Report '2.3 Million People ... 130,000 Trucks' At Anti-Vaccine Mandate Protest in Ottawa No Estimates

Did Canada's Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report "2.3 Million People On Foot And Upwards To 150,000 Truckers" were present at a recent COVID-19 vaccine mandate protest? No, that's not true: A representative of the OPP told Lead Stories, "This information is false." A spokesperson for the RCMP told Lead Stories that the agency "has not provided any estimate on numbers of vehicles or demonstrators in relation to the demonstrations in Ottawa."

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on January 29, 2022. Above what appears to be a screenshot of cellphone texts, the caption opens:

Oh My I cant believe it
I know their is a shit ton of people here and that were expected but WOW

The text in the image in the post reads:

The OPP have reported over 100,000 trucks in Ottawa, an estimated 2.3 million on foot and an 'abudance' of trucks parked in fields just outside of the city.

RCMP reports over 130,000 trucks in the city and more than 20,000 parked in fields outside of the city.

This is what the Facebook post looked like on February 1, 2022:

Ottawa Trucker Protest Image.png

The demonstration the post is talking about follows recent mandates established by Canada and the U.S. that say travelers, including truckers, who are not fully vaccinated against COVID are not permitted to cross the borders to enter the country.

Representatives of the RCMP and the OPP say they have released no numbers concerning the claims made in this post.

In an email to Lead Stories on February 1, 2022, Sgts. Tylor Copeland and Kerry Schmidt of the OPP said of the post:

The OPP have not released numbers of participants at any point. This information is false.

In a separate email to Lead Stories on February 1, 2022, a media relations representative for the RCMP National Division said of the numbers in the post:

We can confirm that the RCMP has not provided any estimate on numbers of vehicle or demonstrators in relation to the demonstrations in Ottawa.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance also published this January 22, 2022, statement regarding the road and border protests, noting that "the vast majority of the Canadian trucking industry is vaccinated with the overall industry vaccination rate among truck drivers closely mirroring that of the general public."

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Kaiyah Clarke

Kaiyah Clarke is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Journalism. When she is not fact-checking or researching counter-narratives in society, she is often found reading a book on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Read more about or contact Kaiyah Clarke

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