Auto Remarketing Canada followed alarming vehicle theft trends in Canada throughout 2023, and the headlines are still coming, as the provincial and federal governments make moves to combat rising crime rates.

On Monday, the Government of Canada announced the launch of a national summit combating auto theft in the country. The summit will take place on Feb. 8 in Ottawa, bringing together leaders from key jurisdictions and sectors to ensure a coordinated response to this challenge, a press release said.

The summit was announced by a team of government leaders including Dominic LeBlanc, minister of public safety, democratic institutions and intergovernmental affairs; Arif Virani, minister of justice and attorney general of Canada; Pablo Rodriguez, minister of transport and Quebec Lieutenant, and more.

“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,” Dominic LeBlanc, minister of public safety, democratic institutions and intergovernmental affairs, said in the press release.

Auto theft is a highly lucrative crime, and as organized crime grows in Canada, so have auto-theft rings.

The Government of Canada said 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 press release said the upcoming summit will serve to identify short, medium and long-term actions to combat auto theft and will strengthen joint initiatives that are already underway.

“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 Combating Auto Theft. We’ll work together and with the auto industry to prevent car theft across the country,” said Pablo Rodriguez, minister of transport and Quebec lieutenant.

Here are some stats, provided by the Government of Canada via a press release, that illustrate this growing problem:

  • 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.
  • 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.

As aforementioned, areas like West Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and more are receiving an influx of illegally exported and imported vehicles from Canada.

Auto Remarketing Canada recently spoke with Trade X, an import/export online platform for dealers, to get a handle on legal versus illegal exports, and how companies like Trade X are helping Canadian companies ensure their cars stay safe.

In 2021, 83,416 vehicles were stolen in Canada, according to Statistics Canada data. This number rose to 105,673 last year. And according to Statistics Canada, 2023 was trending upward beyond 2022 numbers.

The rate per 100,000 population went up from 218.22 in 2021 to 271.44 in 2022.

Auto Remarketing Canada was sent data from Statistics Canada in mid-September to dig deeper into rising vehicle theft across the country.