By CRM Staff
Toronto, Ontario -- December 11, 2018 -- Canadian drivers are paying the price for car thefts, shelling out approximately $1 billion a year to replace and pay for the costs associated with stolen vehicles.
To make matters worse, six Canadian provinces experienced increases in vehicle thefts in 2017. New Brunswick led the way with a 28 percent increase, followed by Ontario at 15 percent, Quebec at 7 percent and Alberta at 6 percent. British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador experienced the smallest increases at one percent and two percent respectively.
In Ontario it isn’t just stolen cars that is driving up rates, but fraudulent auto insurance claims as well. Henry Tso, vice president of investigative services for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, stated that Ontarians are paying $1.6 billion a year because of false claims. The reality of the situation is that drivers in Ontario are paying between eight and 10 percent of their premiums to cover the criminal activity.
According to Tso the spike in stolen vehicles and fraudulent claims can largely be contributed to organized auto theft rings involved in international trade money laundering. In some cases, larger stolen Canadian vehicles are being used to carry out terrorist bombings in the Middle East.
“Lots of them go for bombings, because the terrorists can stuff lots of explosives into them,’ Tso said.
Organized crime in Ontario is predominantly in Toronto, where auto thefts are up 30 percent from 2017, according to Toronto police data. In an interview with Global News Tso explained that Canadian crime networks operate in a similar way to criminal car dealerships. A broker working for a crime boss will receive orders for vehicles in demand in different areas of the world. A team of criminals will then fill the orders and leak inside information to facilitate the process.
Tso, who is a former organized crime and national security investigator, believes that Canada must legislate new, tougher laws against auto theft and insurance fraud, in order to reduce organized auto crime and help lower inflated insurance rates.
The 2015 Lexus GX460 was the most stolen car in Canada last year, followed by the 2007 Ford F350, according to data provided by IBC.