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Car theft: The top cities for stolen vehicles in Canada (IBC)

Learn more about the hardest-hit cities in Canada – and compare car insurance quotes with us to combat the high-premium effect of stolen vehicle claims.

Car theft has become a growing concern across Canada, with alarming spikes in theft claims and costs affecting urban centers from coast to coast. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has released new data that highlights the most affected cities in Atlantic Canada, Alberta, and Ontario. These figures not only reflect the severity of the problem but also underscore the need for immediate and coordinated action to protect Canadians and their vehicles.

Key takeaways on car theft in Canada 

  1. Nationwide concern: Auto theft is on the rise across Canada, with significant increases in theft claims and costs observed across the country.

  2. Regional trends: Auto theft claims and costs are spiking in Atlantic Canada, while Alberta continues to see a notable increase – especially in Edmonton and Calgary. Ontario is also seeing a rise, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area.

  3. Urgent action needed: Immediate implementation of the National Action Plan on Combatting Auto Theft is needed, alongside the establishment of dedicated provincial auto theft teams to bolster law enforcement efforts.

Atlantic Canada: Top cities for car theft

Historically, auto theft has been seen as a problem primarily affecting central Canada. However, the latest IBC data reveals that Atlantic Canada is experiencing significant increases in auto theft claims and costs. Moncton and Fredericton have seen theft claims costs surge by 270% and 231%, respectively, from 2018 to 2023. Halifax, Cape Breton, St. John’s, Saint John, and Charlottetown also report notable increases.

Amanda Dean, Vice-President for Ontario and Atlantic at IBC, stresses that this is a nationwide issue that cannot be ignored. The rising costs in Atlantic Canada indicate a troubling trend that could significantly impact auto insurance premiums if not addressed promptly. Dean calls for swift implementation of the federal government’s National Action Plan on Combatting Auto Theft, emphasizing the need for enhanced security measures at Atlantic ports and stricter vehicle registration processes.

Alberta: Top cities for car theft

Alberta has also seen a worrying rise in auto theft claims costs, which increased by 55% between 2021 and 2023. According to IBC, the cities of Edmonton and Calgary are particularly affected, with theft claims costs rising by 66% and 59%, respectively. Other hot spots include Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, and Fort McMurray.

Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President for Western and Pacific at IBC, highlights the urgency of the situation in the province. Alberta’s auto insurance system faces severe cost pressures, exacerbated by high theft rates and rising legal costs. Sutherland calls for reforms and immediate action to reduce these pressures and ensure that drivers can obtain the coverage they need without facing exorbitant premiums.

Ontario: Top cities for car theft 

Ontario has experienced the most dramatic increases in auto theft claims costs, with a staggering 524% rise from 2018 to 2023. According to IBC, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has been particularly hard hit, with cities like Toronto, Brampton, and Mississauga seeing the highest costs. In 2023, the province’s auto theft claims costs exceeded $1 billion for the first time – which has a direct impact on auto insurance rates in Ontario.

Mid-sized cities in Ontario have also seen significant spikes in claims costs, with Whitby and Pickering experiencing increases of 2,269% and 1,228%, respectively.

Amanda Dean of IBC underscores the urgent need for coordinated efforts to combat the auto theft crisis in Ontario. The provincial government has made significant investments to address the issue, but further measures are required to tighten vehicle registration processes and prevent the fraudulent re-vinning and sale of stolen vehicles.

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The Canadian government’s plan to combat car theft

The rise in auto theft across Canada is a complex issue that demands a multi-faceted approach. The federal government’s National Action Plan on Combatting Auto Theft includes several key recommendations proposed by IBC and other stakeholders:

  1. Enhanced law enforcement coordination: Increasing resources for coordinated, inter-agency law enforcement efforts focused on auto crime.
  2. Provincial auto theft teams: Establishing dedicated provincial teams with prosecutorial support to strengthen capacity to police and deter organized crime involvement in auto theft.
  3. Vehicle safety standards: Updating outdated vehicle safety standards to make it more difficult to transport and export stolen cars.
  4. Tightening vehicle registration processes: Implementing stricter controls to prevent the re-vinning and fraudulent sale of stolen vehicles.

The bottom line 

The dramatic rise in auto theft claims costs in Atlantic Canada, Alberta, and Ontario highlights the urgent need for comprehensive and coordinated action. Policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and the auto insurance industry must collaborate to implement effective measures to combat this growing threat. As the IBC continues to advocate for these changes, it is crucial for all stakeholders to recognize the severity of the auto theft crisis and commit to the necessary reforms to protect Canadian drivers and their vehicles.

By addressing these issues head-on, we can help ensure a safer environment for all Canadians, reduce the financial burden on drivers, and restore confidence in our communities’ ability to prevent and respond to auto theft.

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