Over the years, IBC and Canada’s home, car and business insurers have helped bring about a number of important legislative changes that have led to safer communities. These include mandatory seatbelt use, anti-drinking-and-driving measures and graduated driver licensing.
IBC continues to work with municipal, provincial and federal governments to promote changes that will lead to decreased insurance crime and, as a result, safer roads and a safer Canada.
IBC continues its efforts to have auto theft recognized as a serious and violent crime.
IBC was integral in the introduction of Bill C-343, a private member's bill that was not passed because the session of Parliament was prorogued. The bill had passed a number of readings and had been placed before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
Bill C-343 would have made auto theft, which is now a simple property crime, a separate offence in the Criminal Code and subject to harsher sentencing. Under the bill, the minimum sentence for third-time offenders would have been two years in jail and a tougher financial penalty. Bill C-343 would have recognized auto theft as a violent offence that endangers public safety.
IBC will continue to advocate for legislation, such as Bill C-343, that will result in the adequate punishment of auto thieves, putting more of these criminals where they belong - behind bars.
The CBSA (formerly Canada Customs) has worked with the insurance industry to tighten the borders against those who would export stolen cars. The “Ports Project” of 2004 was a three-month, cooperative effort involving Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), law enforcement and IBC. It was very successful; a total of 61 vehicles, worth over $2 million, were recovered.
IBC is working with law enforcement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to establish a permanent presence at major Canadian ports.
IBC has submitted a proposal to CBSA that has the following objectives:
Organized insurance crime is an attractive avenue for criminals because it is a low-risk crime with high potential for profit. Insurance crime cases are very complex and difficult to prosecute, so the criminals very seldom suffer any serious consequences for their crimes.
Currently, IBC investigators prepare insurance crime case files and present them to the Crown attorneys who are responsible for prosecuting the offenders. However, because courts are consistently backlogged, the Crown attorneys often prefer to prosecute other crimes that are higher-profile and perhaps more likely to lead to a conviction. Therefore, prosecutors frequently choose either to plea bargain (often resulting in a slap on the wrist) in insurance crimes cases, or to drop the cases outright.
A number of jurisdictions in Canada and the US have assigned dedicated insurance crime prosecutors, who become experts in the field and are able to devote more time and resources to it than would otherwise be possible. This approach has met with considerable success.
Advantages of a dedicated insurance crime prosecutor: