OTTAWA, May 4, 2010 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Steven Blaney, M.P. for Lévis-Bellechasse, today announced the introduction of legislation in the Senate tackling property crime, including the serious crimes of auto theft and trafficking in property that is obtained by crime.
“Our government is taking action to protect Canadians, their property and their communities,” said Minister Nicholson. “Auto theft is estimated to cost Canadians more than $1 billion each year, and the dangerous driving that sometimes results makes Canadian roads unsafe. Auto theft is also one of the criminal enterprises on which organized crime depends.”
Trafficking in stolen property, along with drug trafficking and fraud, has been identified as a primary activity for organized crime. Auto theft affects more individual Canadians and businesses than any other crime – whether through financial loss or as a result of the reckless behaviour of joy riding.
The proposed legislation would give law enforcement and the courts better tools to tackle auto theft and the entire range of activities involved in the trafficking of all types of stolen or fraudulently obtained property. The proposed legislation would:
- create a separate offence of "theft of a motor vehicle", which would carry a mandatory prison sentence of 6 months for conviction of a third or subsequent offence when the prosecutor proceeds by indictment;
- establish a new offence for altering, destroying or removing a vehicle identification number (VIN);
- make it an offence to traffic in property obtained by crime; and,
- make it an offence to possess such property for the purpose of trafficking.
In addition, the proposed legislation would allow the Canada Border Services Agency to identify and prevent stolen property from leaving the country, therefore reducing the exportation of stolen vehicles from Canada by organized crime.
“By cracking down on auto theft, our government is disrupting the criminal enterprises that make gangs and organized crime profitable,” said Mr. Blaney. “This legislation is an important part of our efforts to tackle crime, and ensure the safety and security of communities across Canada.”
For an online version of the legislation, visit www.parl.gc.ca.
Backgrounder: Tackling auto theft and property crime act
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Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice