Ottawa to Combat Car Theft at Border, Ports and Online

Leaders from all orders of government, industry and law enforcement are meeting today in Ottawa for the National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft, looking to take stock of the scope and scale of the auto theft issue in Canada. It will be interesting to see the various solutions they come up with and which ones will have a real impact in the short term.

On the eve of the Summit, Canadian Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc announced a federal investment of $28 million to tackle the export of stolen vehicles.  

More specifically, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will have more capacity to detect and search containers with stolen vehicles, as well as further enhance collaboration and information sharing with partners across Canada and internationally to identify and arrest those who are perpetrating these crimes.

The CBSA will also test available detection technologies that could support the work of border services officers who examine and intercept shipping containers to be exported from Canada with stolen vehicles. This includes exploring the use of advanced analytical tools, such as artificial intelligence, the government said.

During his opening speech at the Summit today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his intention to ban direct sale of theft-enabling gadgets through large online platforms.

He deplored the fact that thieves can easily turn to platforms such as Amazon or AliExpress to purchase tools like flippers to help them steal cars. And these devices are often sold at ridiculously cheap prices.

Trudeau said Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne is currently exploring ways to prevent the sale and use of such gadgets for criminal purposes. He also called on automakers to do their part by pushing innovation and improving vehicle design to combat theft.

“Today’s announcements of increased coordination across government and across law enforcement and tackling the sales and availability of car theft tools recognize the severe societal impacts of auto theft and representing the fulfillment of key recommendations we have been making to the government. Additionally, the $28 million committed by Minister LeBlanc yesterday for increased enforcement and inspection initiatives represent defined, short-term actions that will curb auto left and lead to a sustainable Auto Theft Action Plan,” said David Adams, President and CEO of Global Automakers of Canada.

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