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End Auto Theft

Auto theft is a national crisis

Ending it requires a whole-of-society effort.

Canada is facing an auto theft crisis as tens of thousands of vehicles are stolen across the country each year. Insurers have taken proactive steps to protect their customers, but there’s more to do. Learn more about how, by working with governments and other key stakeholders, we can solve this crisis.

In 2022, more than 105,000 vehicles were stolen across Canada. Ontario has been hit especially hard with over $700 million in losses province-wide in 2022, and over $500 million worth of vehicles stolen in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) alone. But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. They don’t account for the disruption, anxiety and fear people experience when their car is stolen, or the increased crime in communities across the country. Auto theft hurts everyone. When thieves steal, we all pay.

We all have a role to play in solving this crisis: Auto manufacturers, all orders of government, insurers and law enforcement agencies must collaborate to address the problem at its source and make Canadian vehicles more difficult to steal in the first place. The federal government should play a leadership role in addressing this crisis.

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What the insurance industry is doing to end auto theft.

The P&C insurance industry has a long history of working with law enforcement to combat auto theft. Insurers are taking proactive steps to try to help protect their customers from the impact of auto theft, and many insurers are subsidizing the costs associated with the installation of approved aftermarket tracking devices. Équité Association releases an annual Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles list to help consumers make informed choices.

What Happens to Stolen Vehicles?

These are the three most likely scenarios, though experts suggest that over 50% of stolen vehicles fall under the first category and the vast majority fall into the first and second categories:

  1. Shipped overseas

  2. Fraudulently re-VINed vehicles sold to unsuspecting customers in Canada

  3. Disassembled in “chop shops” and sold for parts

IBC and Équité Association call for a whole-of-society strategy

Insurers, auto manufacturers and all orders of government have a role to play to:

1. Stop vehicles from being stolen in the first place

Auto manufacturers must equip vehicles with modern and effective anti-theft safety devices. The current anti-theft deterrent standard that federal regulations require manufacturers to adhere to was first implemented in 2007. It has not been updated since, despite the widespread adoption of modern technologies such as keyless, push-to-start ignition. This has rendered the current standard outdated and leaves vehicles vulnerable to theft.

Insurers have a key role to play in educating consumers about protecting themselves against auto theft, and explaining  the auto premium structure to encourage consumers to protect themselves.

In Ontario, the government can tighten up provincial vehicle registrations. All provinces should provide more resources for coordinated, inter-agency enforcement.

All provinces can bolster law enforcement capacities.

For more detail, click here.

2. Stop the illegal export of stolen vehicles

The federal government must play a leadership role in coordinating a national auto theft strategy with a focus on stopping the illegal export of stolen vehicles. For example, Public Safety Canada should invest in the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to improve controls at ports and borders, and require all vehicles set for permanent export to be presented for inspection 72 hours prior to departure.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) should facilitate the upload of Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) data to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

For more detail, click here.

We need a whole-of-society approach to turn the tide: no one organization or industry can solve the problem of auto theft on its own. Auto theft hurts everyone. When thieves steal, we all pay.