ontario police news

Ontario auto theft claims have jumped 524% and now surpass $1B

New data from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) shows that auto theft has skyrocketed across Canada in recent years.

Claims to replace stolen vehicles shot up to a "record-breaking" $1.5 billion in 2023, marking the second year car theft claims climbed to $1 billion.

There was a nearly 20 per cent increase in claims since 2022.

The IBC reported that between 2018 and 2021, auto theft claims costs averaged $556 million per year. And in five years (2018-2023), auto theft claims increased 254 per cent nationally.

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Chart from CNW Group/IBC showing how auto theft claims costs have spiked over the years.

In an official statement, Bureau VP of Strategy Liam McGuinty said these shocking numbers show how auto theft is disrupting Canadians' lives and causing trauma and concern.

"It places a heavy burden on law enforcement and courtroom personnel who work tirelessly to address these crimes," he notes. "Canada's auto theft crisis is also placing pressure on drivers' insurance premiums — as auto theft continues to increase, so do the associated costs. Auto theft is not a victimless crime."

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What claims looked like over the years at a glance. Graph courtesy of CNW Group/IBC.

According to the Bureau's findings, new and high-end luxury vehicles are often lucrative targets "due in part to their desirability in illegal international markets."

"In many cases, stolen vehicles are exported to these markets by domestic and international criminal organizations. The proceeds are then used to finance drug trafficking, arms dealing and international terrorism," the grim report stated.

Officials recommend that more measures be taken to make stealing, transporting and exporting vehicles harder at the federal and provincial levels.

"Insurers have taken proactive steps to help consumers combat auto theft, but they can't do it alone. We need a whole-of-society approach,"  said McGuinty.

He believes more attention needs to be paid to modernizing Canada's out-of-date vehicle safety standards, which were last updated in 2007, 17 years ago.

Provincially, Ontario suffered the most, with auto theft claims increasing 524 per cent between 2018 and 2023 and surpassing $1 billion for the first time in 2023.

Ontario is the only province whose data has been made public so far. IBC says it will release province-specific data in the coming weeks.

"IBC and its members look forward to the important next steps anticipated in the federal government's action plan to combat auto theft," concluded McGuinty.

Some people now use steering locks and tracking devices to protect their vehicles from theft.

Lead photo by

Andrii Spy_k/Shutterstock


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