Insurance Bureau of Canada applauds federal government's plan to get tough on auto theft



    MONTREAL, April 21 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) applauds
efforts announced today by the federal government to re-introduce
comprehensive legislation to combat the serious problem of auto theft.
    "Clearly, the federal government recognizes the many costs of auto
theft," said Rick Dubin, Vice-President, Investigations, IBC. "Not only does
auto theft cost Canadians more than $1 billion every year, it also costs
lives. The growing involvement of organized crime in auto theft is a threat to
our safety and security."
    The legislation announced today increases the consequences of auto theft
and targets the involvement of criminal organizations. It will empower Canada
Border Services Agency to search containers at ports all across Canada, and to
seize stolen vehicles meant for export. And it will make it a crime to tamper
with vehicle identification numbers (VINs) and traffic in stolen auto parts.
    The proposed legislation will also make auto theft a separate offence
under the Criminal Code so that sentences are more appropriate for the
severity of the crime. Presently, auto theft is considered a simple property
offence, but thieves escaping in a stolen vehicle show little regard for
public safety, and in many cases this has led to tragedy for innocent
bystanders.
    Auto theft costs Canadians over $1 billion each year, including police,
court costs, medical services and other expenses. In 2007, auto theft cost
insurers $542 million, or $35 for each auto insurance policy. The number of
thefts across Canada dropped by 9% in 2007, but recovery rates also continue
to decline.
    The choice of Montreal as the location for the government's announcement
today is appropriate. In 2007, 22,403 vehicles were stolen in Montreal - more
than in any other Canadian city. At the same time, the recovery rate in that
city was the lowest in the country, at just 31%. Low recovery rate is a strong
indicator of organized criminal activity because it means vehicles are being
exported, chopped for parts or re-identified and sold to unsuspecting
consumers.
    "The measures announced by the federal government today reflect a
commitment to the safety and security of Canadians. I urge all MPs to support
this legislation and pass it as soon as possible," said Dubin.

    Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association
representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member
companies represent nearly 95% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance
market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 110,000 Canadians,
pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal
governments, and has a total premium base of $38 billion.
    To view news releases and information, visit the media section of IBC's
website at www.ibc.ca.





For further information:

For further information: James Geuzebroek, (416) 362-2031 ext. 4364


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