It’s no secret that auto theft is an ongoing issue in Canada. Most people have either experienced auto theft or know someone who has. During a news conference on Monday morning, the government announced its “National Action Plan” to combat auto thefts in the city. So, what does this new action plan entail? How will it help fight the stolen vehicle epidemic that is plaguing Canada? Here’s what we know so far.

National Action Plan: What does it entail?

Combating an epidemic as big as Canada’s auto theft issue is no easy task. In a recent news release, the government stated it will implement several measures and initiatives. These can be implemented by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. According to Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, the federal will be immediately moving forward with the following actions as part of their National Action Plan:

  1. Legislative and regulatory changes. This will include changes to the current Criminal Code, as well. These changes show harsher penalties for new offenders who possess and distribute devices that aid in auto theft. New changes to the Radiocommunication Act will aim to regulate the devices being used to steal vehicles.
  2. Intelligence/information sharing between municipal, provincial, federal, and international police and customs officers. This will support and further aid in support of criminal investigations, charges, and prosecutions.
  3. Intervention improvements will also be put into place. These improvements will allow for more shipping containers to be examined. These are commonly used to transport stolen vehicles across the globe. There will be an increased capacity at the Canada Border Services Agency, along with the integration of new tools to target stolen vehicles.

“Cracking down on auto theft requires all hands on deck from all levels of government, industry leaders, and law enforcement,” says François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation at the Science and Industry of Canada. “Through this national action plan, we are going to work with partners and use all levers at our disposal to reduce car thefts in our communities.”

How is auto theft affecting the insurance industry?

According to data released by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) the auto theft crisis shows little sign of slowing down. In 2023 alone, the total cost of insurance claims for replacing stolen vehicles skyrocketed to $1.5 billion, breaking the record of previous years. This marked the second consecutive year that claims topped over $1 billion. Between 2018 and 2021, the IBC states theft claims averaged $556 annually.

“These numbers indicate that the auto theft crisis persists, disrupting the lives of Canadians and causing them concern and trauma,” states Liam McGuinty, Vice-President of Strategy at IBC. “Canada’s auto theft crisis is also placing pressure on drivers’ insurance premiums. As auto theft continues to increase, so do the associated costs. Auto theft is not a victimless crime.”

The crisis seems to be most apparent in Ontario specifically. In the province, auto theft claims increased by 524% between 2018 and 2023. Regarding the most lucrative targets, high-end luxury vehicles seem to be the most sought-after. This is due to how desirable they are in illegal international markets. It is very common for stolen vehicles in Canada to be exported to these domestic markets via international criminal organizations. From there, they take the proceeds and use them to fund drug trafficking, arms dealing, and international terrorism.

“Insurers have taken proactive steps to help consumers combat auto theft, but they can’t do it alone. We need a whole-of-society approach,” McGuinty states.

Auto theft affects companies, too

The surges in auto theft aren’t only affecting car owners. RCMP Commissioner Michael Duheme says that after speaking to representatives, manufacturers are also taking a hit. He states that they are working on doing more to combat the rise in vehicle thefts, something the entire industry is taking seriously. Duheme spoke to one company, that wasn’t named, who stated that they are looking into how to safeguard their products to avoid thieves.

“They understand the issues, the problems, but it’s not just one manufacturer looking at the issue, it’s a collective effort,” Durheme told reporters in Brampton, Ontario. “If you look at a company whose car is regularly stolen, eventually no one is going to buy that car. So it’s going to hurt the company,” Durheme says. “They’re mindful of what’s going on and they’re doing a lot of work to try to address it.”

Canada’s National Action Plan: Final Thoughts

We believe the National Action Plan is a massive step towards putting an end, or at least a decline, to the stolen vehicle crisis. This plan dismantles those who provide and hold the tools to make stealing cars easier. Additionally, disrupting the criminal networks that deal with stolen vehicles, we believe is a crucial step to making our communities safer and putting an end to this epidemic. Remember, do your part in combatting auto theft by placing your car in a garage if possible. Also, double-check it is locked when you aren’t using it. By following these eight home safety tips, you can add additional peace of mind knowing your vehicle is safe and sound.

With the current rate of car thefts being higher than ever, having proper insurance coverage is crucial. Contact us at isure or request a quote today!

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