Ottawa announces additional $15M to combat vehicle theft

By Stéphane Blais, The Canadian Press

The federal government has announced an additional $15 million to fight vehicle theft.

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc made the announcement in Montreal on Wednesday.

He was accompanied by Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme and Montreal police (SPVM) chief Fady Dagher.

Minister LeBlanc indicated that $9 million of this amount will be allocated to provincial, territorial and municipal police services.

A further $3.5 million will be devoted to “information sharing with INTERPOL” to improve investigations into stolen vehicles abroad.

LeBlanc says $2.4 million will be used to support the Canadian government’s work to fight car theft with domestic and international partners.

On Feb. 7, the federal government announced $28 million to help border agents better detect and search shipping containers for stolen vehicles and increase their ability to investigate and arrest people involved in car theft supply chains.

The federal government says that between 2021 and 2022, rates of vehicle theft rose by 50 per cent in Quebec, 48.3 per cent in Ontario, 34.5 per cent in Atlantic Canada and 18.35 per cent in Alberta – and that around 90,000 cars are stolen each year in Canada, costing Canadian policyholders and taxpayers around $1 billion.

In Quebec, there were “three times as many” vehicle theft files opened last year as in 2019, according to Sûreté du Québec Director General Johanne Beausoleil earlier this month.

She had explained that the Port of Montreal is “the preferred transit point” for the export of stolen vehicles in Ontario and Quebec, and that the majority of stolen vehicles are shipped to Africa and the Middle East.

A dozen arrests in Montreal

On Wednesday, the SPVM arrested a dozen individuals suspected of belonging to a vehicle theft ring.

Mayor Plante indicated on Wednesday afternoon that 55 vehicles were recovered during this police operation.

“Behind every car theft, there are serious impacts for vehicle owners, visitors and the reputation of the metropolis. Car thefts are a gateway to the criminal network for many young people, and we need to take concrete action. The funding announced today will certainly reinforce the strike force of the SPVM, other police forces and partners involved. We salute this gesture by the Government of Canada and will remain mobilized to fight effectively against this scourge,” said Plante in a press release.

–This report by La Presse Canadienne was translated by CityNews

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