Government of Canada Announces National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft
MONTREAL, Jan. 21, 2024 /CNW/ – Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport and Quebec Lieutenant, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Honourable Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board, announced that a National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft will take place on February 8, 2024 in Ottawa. The Summit will bring together leaders from key jurisdictions and sectors to ensure a coordinated response to this issue.
Auto theft is a highly lucrative, highly sophisticated trans-national crime that not only affects Canadians but empowers criminal organizations through the proceeds of crime. The Government is committed to combatting auto theft in Canada, including the shipment of stolen vehicles through our borders.
Federal and provincial officials have been collaborating with key stakeholders on efforts to combat auto theft. The Summit will serve to identify short, medium and long-term actions to combat auto theft and will strengthen joint initiatives that are already underway.
This Summit is in keeping with the Government of Canada’s commitment to combatting serious and organized crime and ensuring the safety of communities.
“Collaboration is key to identifying solutions. By convening partners from across local, provincial and national jurisdictions, this summit will enable us to further coordinate our collective efforts to combat auto theft. I look forward to our discussions.”
– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs
“As a resident of the GTA, I have heard about and recognize the urgency of ensuring every Canadian feels safe in our communities and across the country. While our laws addressing auto theft and its connections to organized crime are robust, we are committed to exploring additional avenues to strengthen them further. Our government takes the issue of rising auto theft very seriously and are determined to work with all orders of government and partners to make our communities safer and more secure for all.”
– The Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Too many Canadians paid the high price, financially and emotionally, of having their car stolen. To find solutions, we need to act on all fronts and that’s why my colleagues and I are gathered, in Quebec, to announce the National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft. We’ll work together and with the auto industry to prevent car theft across the country.”
– The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport and Quebec Lieutenant
“Auto theft is a growing criminal phenomenon that impacts Canadians from coast to coast. It is essential that we tackle this problem in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, including governments at all levels, industry and law enforcement. By bringing together all the key players, the National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft will be an opportunity to identify solutions and actions that we can take to stamp out this scourge.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Our government remains steadfast in prioritizing the safety and well-being of Canadians and their property. Communities across Ontario, including Oakville, have been disproportionately impacted by the surge in auto theft rates, and the upcoming National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft will bring together leaders from key sectors to find solutions. We see the impact that auto theft has on communities across Canada – and we are taking a whole of government approach to tackle this issue.”
– The Honourable Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board
- Rates of vehicle theft rose by 50% in Quebec, 48.3% in Ontario, 34.5% in Atlantic Canada and 18.35% in Alberta in 2022, as compared to the previous year, according to industry estimates.
- In 2022, approximately 9,600 vehicles were stolen in the Toronto area alone, representing a 300% increase since 2015, according to the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association (CFLA).
- Police services in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have observed a combined 104% increase in carjackings from 2021 to 2022.
- Transnational organized criminal groups are believed to be involved in the export of stolen vehicles from Canada, however, most vehicle thefts involve lower level threat groups, with violent street gangs being the most prevalent.
- The majority of stolen vehicles exported are destined for Africa and the Middle East. Some stolen vehicles also remain in Canada enabling other crimes to be committed with the vehicles and are destroyed afterwards.
- Investigations into auto theft are led by police of jurisdiction, however, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Sûreté du Québec (SQ) are working together in integrated task forces to target organized crime, including those groups involved in stolen vehicles.
- At the border, the CBSA works closely with domestic and international partners to respond to 100% of referrals from police of jurisdiction and other intelligence sources to examine outbound containers at points of export that may contain stolen vehicles.
- Canada has strong laws in place to address motor vehicle theft at various stages of the crime. These include offences that address conduct that precedes the theft, the theft itself, possession and trafficking of stolen property, and tampering with Vehicle Information Numbers (VINs). Offense-related property and proceeds of crime can also be confiscated under the Criminal Code.
- The Criminal Code also includes comprehensive laws to target organized crime, including specific offences and enhanced investigative tools and enhanced sentencing of offences for violent acts including assault, assault with a weapon, intimidation and the use of a weapon (e.g., firearm) in the commission.
- The Government of Canada has been engaging with industry and other stakeholders on auto theft, including port authorities, rail and shipping companies, as well as manufacturer associations and the insurance industry, as part of our collective effort to combat this crime.
- Justice and Public Safety Ministers conclude productive meeting focused on joint priorities
- Criminal Intelligence Service Canada: Summary – Organized Crime Involvement in Vehicle Theft in Canada
- CBSA prevents 72 stolen vehicles from being smuggled out of Port of Montreal
SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
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