A police officer stands at a checkpoint near Parliament Hill on Feb. 23, 2022 in Ottawa. The inquiry into Ottawa’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act during protests in February is being delayed. The Public Order Emergency Commission announced today that it expects the hearings to start Oct. 13. It was originally supposed to start Sept. 19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

A police officer stands at a checkpoint near Parliament Hill on Feb. 23, 2022 in Ottawa. The inquiry into Ottawa’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act during protests in February is being delayed. The Public Order Emergency Commission announced today that it expects the hearings to start Oct. 13. It was originally supposed to start Sept. 19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Emergencies Act inquiry will be delayed until October due to commissioner’s illness

The inquiry into Ottawa’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act during protests last winter will be delayed until October because of a health issue.

The Public Order Emergency Commission was to begin hearings Sept. 19 but will be delayed now until Oct. 13, a statement from the commission said Friday.

Six weeks have been scheduled for the hearings so they will now finish on Nov. 25. The commission has until mid-February to deliver its report.

The delay comes because commissioner Paul Rouleau is undergoing surgery.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act in February amid border blockades and the occupation of downtown Ottawa by protesters demonstrating against the Trudeau government and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

There is a legal requirement to create a public review commission to look into the decision to use the Emergencies Act. A parliamentary committee is also separately conducting its own study on why the act was invoked.

Police forces, organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” and all three levels of government are expected to testify at the hearings. Parties with standing at the commission were told about the delay Friday afternoon.

Roleau said in a statement he was committed to completing the commission’s work in a “timely manner.”

“Commission staff, with the co-operation of all parties, has made significant progress over the past several weeks in obtaining and reviewing documents, conducting interviews, and preparing for the start of public hearings.”