Auto Theft in Canada

Up until 2014, motor vehicles thefts were gradually declining over the past decade.  Starting in 2014, this trend began to reverse.  Between 2014 and 2015, motor vehicle theft increased by 6% in Canada.  Even with this increase, the level is still 56% lower than that over the past decade.  Alberta experienced the highest increase at 32% (532 thefts per 100,000 vehicles); Calgary (67%) and Edmonton (16%).  A list of the most stolen vehicles can be found on the Insurance Bureau of Canada website.

Motor vehicle theft is a crime that affects many Canadians, both directly and indirectly. The financial cost to consumers, police, insurance companies and governments has been estimated by the Insurance Bureau of Canada at more than $1 billion annually. Stolen vehicles that become involved in police chases or reckless driving can cause injury or death to innocent bystanders.

Across Canada there is a very wide variance in the underlying reasons for vehicle theft. In the west, higher theft rates are experienced but there are also very high vehicle recovery rates. This is generally attributed to the fact that the thieves are either teenage 'joy riders' or drug addicts who use their vehicles for transportation then abandon them. In Quebec and Ontario, theft rates are lower and their vehicle recovery rates are also much lower.

Their problem is generally considered to be organized crime in which vehicles are disassembled (chopped) and resold as parts. They also have a significant problem with vehicle re-birthing (in which all of the identifying tags are switched and the vehicle sold) and the export of stolen vehicles to other countries.

In 2015, police reported approximately 79,000 motor vehicle thefts, an average of about 220 stolen vehicles per day. More than half (54%) were cars; another 35% were trucks, vans or SUVs; 4% were motorcycles and the remaining 8% were other types of vehicles.

Motor Vehicle Theft Rate by Province, 2014