Government of Canada announces federal support for auto theft investigations and stolen vehicle recovery

News release

Montréal, Quebec - February 21, 2024

Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, joined by the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport and Quebec Lieutenant, Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal, Mike Duheme, Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and Fady Dagher, Chief of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), announced a federal investment of $15 million to support law enforcement agencies’ work to combat auto theft.

$9.1 million will be extended to provincial, territorial and municipal police forces through the Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime (CPCSOC) to increase their capacity to take custody of detained stolen vehicles from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

In addition, to enhance information sharing and investigative tactics to identify and retrieve stolen vehicles and parts around the world, INTERPOL’s joint transnational vehicle crime project will receive $3.5 million.

The Government of Canada will also continue to engage its domestic and international partners to ensure a coordinated response to this issue, supported through an investment of $2.4 million.

Auto theft is impacting thousands of households every year, particularly in our urban centres. It increasingly involves organized crime groups, who are using the proceeds of those thefts to fund other illegal activities. Today's announcement is another step the Government of Canada is taking to combat auto theft, building on these recent actions:

  • Increasing the capacity of the CBSA by investing $28 million to detect and search shipping containers for stolen vehicles, as well as enhance collaboration on intelligence sharing with partners across Canada and internationally to help identify those involved within the supply chain and arrest those who are perpetuating these crimes. This includes exploring detection technology solutions and the use of advanced analytical tools, such as artificial intelligence.
  • Pursuing all avenues to ban devices used to steal vehicles by copying the wireless signals for remote keyless entry, such as the Flipper Zero, which would allow for the removal of those devices from the Canadian marketplace through collaboration with law enforcement agencies.
  • Modernizing the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to ensure they consider technological advancements to deter and prevent auto theft.
  • Examining potential amendments to the Criminal Code to further strengthen the legal framework related to auto theft, including by reviewing existing offences and penalties.
  • Investing $121 million to help prevent gun and gang violence in Ontario, including organized crime and auto theft, through the Initiative to take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence (ITAAGGV).

The Government of Canada and its partners continue to work together to identify solutions to this issue. At the conclusion of the recent National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft, participants endorsed a Statement of Intent and are working to finalize an action plan, which will be released this winter. 


“Local police services from across the country play a crucial role in combatting auto theft. As was highlighted at the recent National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft, collaboration is essential to combatting this crime efficiently. The investment we are making today will enable police services to further strengthen their cooperation.”

- The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs

“Too many Montrealers have been impacted by car theft. Our Government is taking major steps in our work with the auto industry, ports, and police, to make sure they have the tools they need. We all have a part to play in preventing car theft. We’re working as a team. It's the only way to protect Canadians.”

- The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport and Quebec Lieutenant 

“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.”

- Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal

Quick facts

  • The Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime (CPCSOC) supports initiatives, research, partnership building, specialized police services, projects and programs to increase knowledge, raise awareness and/or help advance efforts to combat serious and organized crime, such as auto theft.

  • The Government of Canada has been engaging with industry and other stakeholders on auto theft, including port authorities, rail and shipping companies, as well as manufacturer associations and the insurance industry, as part of our collective effort to combat this crime.

  • Investigations into auto theft are led by local police. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Sûreté du Québec (SQ) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are working together in integrated task forces to target organized crime, including those groups involved in stolen vehicles.

  • The CBSA responds to 100% of referrals from police of jurisdiction to examine outbound containers at points of export that may contain stolen vehicles and identify criminal activity within the supply chain.

  • Nationally, the CBSA has increased its efforts, intercepting 463 stolen vehicles in 2018 to more than 1,800 interceptions of stolen vehicles in 2023. The CBSA’s actions have resulted in a 290% increase in stolen vehicle seizures over the past five years.

  • Canada has strong laws in place to address auto theft at various stages of the crime. These include offences that address conduct that precedes the theft the theft itself, possession and trafficking (including exporting) of stolen property, and tampering with Vehicle Information Numbers (VINs). Offense-related property and proceeds of crime can also be confiscated under the Criminal Code

  • The Criminal Code also includes comprehensive laws to target organized crime, including specific offences and enhanced investigative tools and sentencing, as well as strong penalties for violent acts including assault, assault with a weapon, intimidation and the use of a weapon (for example, a firearm) in the commission of an offence.

  • Rates of vehicle theft rose by 50% in Quebec, 48.3% in Ontario, 34.5% in Atlantic Canada and 18.35% in Alberta in 2022, as compared to the previous year. 

  • Transnational organized criminal groups are believed to be involved in the export of stolen vehicles from Canada, however, most vehicle thefts involve lower level threat groups, with violent street gangs being the most prevalent.

  • The majority of stolen vehicles exported are destined for Africa and the Middle East. Some stolen vehicles also remain in Canada enabling other crimes to be committed with the vehicles and are destroyed afterwards.

  • Police services in the GTA have observed a combined 104% increase in carjackings from 2021 to 2022, according to a recent report from the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada.

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Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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