Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is making moves to combat rising vehicle theft levels, and the industry tracking the alarming data is expressing its support.

The upcoming National Summit Combatting Auto Theft, to be held in Ottawa on Feb. 8, will include key jurisdictions and industry sectors, including automotive, collaborating to identify actions to combat auto theft and strengthen initiatives already in place.

In response to the announcement, the Equite Association, authority on insurance fraud and crime, as well as the Insurance Bureau of Canada, released responses to the February event announcement.

In response, Terri O’Brien, president and CEO of the Equite Association, said in a press release, “On behalf of our members, Équité Association extends its thanks to the Federal Government and the Department of Public Safety for leading the efforts on convening the National Summit on Combating Auto Theft.

“The National Summit signifies a crucial step toward a coordinated and comprehensive response to this escalating issue. Équité looks forward to continued collaboration with government agencies, law enforcement and stakeholders in our collective effort to combat auto theft and ensure the safety and well-being of Canadians,” she said.

According to Equite data, rates of vehicle theft rose in Quebec by 50% in 2022 year-over-year. This was reported in the organization’s 2022 Vehicle Theft Trend Report.

The study found more than 80% of Canadians say they are concerned about community safety due to the auto theft crisis.

Canada is a source nation, meaning organized crime is exporting stolen vehicles primarily through the Port of Montreal for resale.

The most stolen vehicle in Canada of 2022 was the Honda CR-V, for the second year in a row, according to Equite data.

Overall, the year-over-year rate of vehicle theft spiked in 2022 by 50% in the province of Quebec, 48.3% in Ontario and 34.5% in Atlantic Canada, a government press release said.

The Toronto region alone saw 9,600 vehicles stolen in 2022, a 300% increase in annual thefts compared to 2015, according to data tracked by the federal Canadian government.

IBC also commended the federal government for convening in February to discuss auto theft rates.

After the summit was announced, Craig Stewart, vice president of climate change and federal issues for IBC, issued the following statement in a press release:

“IBC commends the federal government for announcing a national summit on combating auto theft. Auto theft is a national crisis affecting communities and innocent victims across the country. The only way to end this social menace impacting public safety is through a concerted, whole-of-society effort. Convening a national summit and bringing together representatives from all orders of government, law enforcement agencies and partners from key sectors is a firm step in the right direction to end Canada’s auto theft crisis. 

“Canada’s property and casualty insurers have been calling on the federal government to take a leadership role in coordinating a whole-of-society approach to combating auto theft and are in full support of the upcoming summit. We are hopeful and confident the summit will convene the key experts and stakeholders needed to organize and implement an effective response to fight auto theft in the country.

 “IBC is encouraged by the leadership shown by the federal government to spearhead a coordinated effort to fight auto theft. The P&C insurance industry has been on the frontlines of the auto theft epidemic for years and look forward to participating in the summit and offering an important perspective and set of proposed solutions.

 “Kudos to the federal government and the ministers responsible for convening and announcing this critical summit.”

IBC reported auto insurers paid $1.2 billion in claims for stolen vehicles last year, the first time in history that the number went above $1 billion.

In Ontario, auto theft claims costs were approximately $700 million in 2022, up from approximately $160 million in 2018. This represents a staggering 329% increase.

IBC and the Equité Association have been partnering to combat the auto theft trend, having recently launched the End Auto Theft campaign to raise awareness of the costs of auto theft and to build greater public awareness of the auto theft crisis.

 Stay tuned to Auto Remarketing Canada as we continue to track the vehicle theft problem in Canada, and its impact on the auto industry.