Port of Montreal

The federal government has committed $28 million to the Canada Border Security Agency to combat the export of stolen vehicles.

The money will allow agents to inspect shipping containers for stolen vehicles, the government said.

The spike in car thefts, an increase of as much as 50% in some provinces, has led to insurance companies raising rates across the board, particularly on models which are popular among thieves.  

The Trudeau government announced the new funding Wednesday on the eve of a national summit on auto theft.

The summit will include not just government officials but law enforcement agents and industry leaders from across Canada. The aim is to spur coast-to-coast collaboration and information sharing. 

The summit may be in response to criticism from opposition MPs, as it comes on the heels of Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s press conference at the federal port in Montreal to discuss the growing crisis of auto thefts. 

“After eight years of Justin Trudeau, car thefts are up 300% in Toronto and 100% in Ottawa and Montreal. Nationally, car thefts are up by more than a third since his Liberal government took office,” said Poilievre on Monday. 

“Canadian cars are being stolen at historically high rates, many of which are being shipped overseas.”

According to estimates from the federal government, about 90,000 cars in Canada are stolen each year, adding a collective $1 billion in costs to Canadians’ insurance policies.  

The majority of these vehicles are then shipped overseas to countries in Africa or the Middle East via ports in Montreal, Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Halifax.  

The vehicles that remain in Canada are either stripped for parts or used to commit other crimes. 

The auto theft crisis in Canada “increasingly involves organized crime groups, and the proceeds of these thefts are used to fund other illegal activities,” announced the government on Wednesday, according to CP24. “There is no single solution to this complex problem.”

Poilievre said during his press conference on the issue that he would cut the Liberals’ use of consultants and put the money towards more “boots on the ground” CBSA officers to inspect port shipping containers. 

“The consultants are making off like bandits,” said Poilievre. “Trudeau is spending $15 million dollars a year just on CBSA management consultants alone.”

“If you want to drive a truck, you need to know how to drive. If you want to be a barber, you need to know how to cut hair. If you want to be a manager, you need to know how to manage. And if you don’t know how to manage, I’m going to fire you.”

Additionally, Poilievre said more money should be invested in purchasing X-ray scanners at the port which could expedite the search process.