Ontario commits to bolstering auto theft crackdown

Focus is on targeting organized crime, supporting law enforcement

Ontario commits to bolstering auto theft crackdown

Motor & Fleet

By Mika Pangilinan

Ontario has committed to bolstering its efforts to address the high number of auto thefts reported in the province.

In its fall economic statement, the government said these efforts will focus on targeting organized crime networks and supporting law enforcement.

Ontario began its auto theft crackdown with an earlier $51 million investment towards forming a dedicated auto theft team led by the Ontario police, a major auto theft prosecution response team, and a community safety grant. 

These initiatives will be taken further with a $1.4 million investment in the Greater Toronto Area-Greater Golden Horseshoe Investigative Fund to provide police services with essential resources and technology, according to the statement.

The government additionally called for collaboration between various federal and provincial agencies, including the Government of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the Montreal and Halifax Port Authorities.

It also called on the federal government to invest in increasing outbound inspections at Canadian ports, exploring the use of police pre-clearance for containers, and engaging railway companies in helping tackle auto theft. 

Bryan Gast, vice president of investigative services at Équité Association, responded to the Ontario government’s plans and said the fall statement correctly underscored the importance of a collaborative approach to address the auto theft crisis.

“Our investigative team looks forward to continuing our close collaboration with the CBSA, Port Authorities, the provincial government, and law enforcement agencies across the province,” he said.

“Ontario's auto theft problem cannot be remedied in isolation; it requires this kind of dedication and a collaborative approach to ultimately combatting this crime and protecting the people of Ontario.”

Auto theft in Ontario has increased 31% year-over-year during the first half of 2023, according to Gast.

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