The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says auto theft trends are a crisis in Canada and put out a call to governments and stakeholders to address the problem, saying fighting auto theft requires a whole-of-society approach to address.

“While insurers are taking proactive steps to better protect their customers, our industry cannot combat auto theft alone. All stakeholders, including governments, law enforcement and auto manufacturers have a critical role to play and must take immediate steps to address the auto theft crisis,” says the IBC’s interim vice president of Ontario, Amanda Dean.

Citing statistics from the Équité Association, a not-for-profit national organization focused on insurance crime on behalf of Canadian P&C insurers, they say 2022 was the first time in history when Canadian insurers paid more than $1-billion in claims for stolen vehicles. “Regions at higher risk of auto theft include the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which is responsible for approximately $500-million of this total,” they state. The majority of theft claims - $700-million, up from $160-million in 2018 – occurred in Ontario alone.

Notably, GTA regions Durham, Halton and York saw the steepest increases in auto theft – these jumped 561 per cent, 514 per cent and 497 per cent respectively during the year.

The IBC says many insurers are now subsidizing the costs associated with the installation of approved aftermarket tracking devices and waiving high risk surcharges for those who take proactive steps, outlined by the insurer, to better protect their vehicles.

“It’s clear that government action is required to combat auto theft in Canada,” they add. “Generally, the harder a car is to steal and the less expensive it is to repair, the less it costs to insure.” The association then encourages consumers to check lists such as the Équité Association’s most stolen vehicles in Canada when making their car buying choices. 

“IBC and its members are continuing to work with all levels of government,” they conclude. “As criminals constantly evolve their techniques to steal vehicles, it is incumbent on every stakeholder to take immediate action to protect Canadian drivers.”