The Insurance Bureau of Canada said the federal government’s National Action Plan on Combating Auto Theft is “comprehensive and informed” but success will need to be measured in whether it actually manages to curb auto theft.

"IBC commends the federal government on the release of its National Action Plan on Combatting Auto Theft. Many of the property and casualty insurance industry's public policy solutions are captured in the comprehensive and informed plan,” said Celyeste Power, president and CEO of the IBC.

The IBC called on the federal government to swiftly act on the plan, given that the “auto theft crisis is worsening."

According to data released by the IBC last week, the cost of insurance claims for replacing stolen vehicles in Canada rose to a record-breaking $1.5 billion in 2023, a 254 per cent increase since 2018.

“Auto theft is disrupting the lives of Canadians and causing them concern and trauma. It's also placing pressure on their insurance premiums – as auto theft continues to increase, so do the associated costs. Auto theft is not a victimless crime,” the IBC statement on Monday said.

The insurer’s body said for effective implementation, insurers, law enforcement and port authorities need to work with auto manufacturers, “who are uniquely positioned to make vehicles more difficult to steal in the first instance."

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The action plan announced Monday contains measures and funding announced in the weeks since a national summit on auto theft was held in February.

It also features changes to the Criminal Code, such as stiffer penalties and new offences targeting car thieves and the devices they use, that were included in the latest federal budget.

But the plan does not include specific requirements for automakers, which have been criticized for not addressing gaps in vehicle technology that have been exploited by thieves. Wireless key fob programmers that can be used to start a stolen car’s ignition can be purchased on Amazon.

The industry has said it is continuously improving the security of its vehicles.

The action plan mentions commitments made by Transport Canada to modernize Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations to “ensure they consider technological advancements to deter and prevent auto theft.”

— with files from Global's Sean Boynton

2024-05-21T14:29:25Z dg43tfdfdgfd