March 29, 2023

Stopping the Trip Overseas: The Tri-party Partnership Preventing the Export of Stolen Vehicles

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Another recording breaking year for Équité, Service de policede la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Vehicle theft has increased by approximately 45% in Ontario and 50% in Quebec in 2022 as Canada becomes a global source nation for the lucrative theft and exportation of vehicles. International crime rings are “targeting” Canada, coordinating and orchestrating vehicle thefts across the country in unprecedented numbers.

Cross-border criminal syndicates are exploiting Canada and their methods to export stolen vehicles continue to evolve. Thieves are stealing vehicles in Ontario, then driving to the Port of Montreal in Quebec where they are put into shipping containers, often with the plates still on, and exported overseas where they are sold. The Port of Montreal provides access to 110 million customers via rail, trucking, and shipping.

Last year, Équité Association investigators and partners recovered over 1,170 vehicles at the Port of Montreal valued at $63M, breaking the previous year’s record of most recovered vehicles.

We are proud of the work of our investigators, law enforcement, and agency partners. Not only have vehicle theft recovery methods and intelligence-based approaches improved, evolved and matured, but through our collaborative effort, continued commitment, and the hard work of all involved, the three partners have made considerable strides to stop Canadian-owned vehicles from leaving the country.

The sheer volume of vehicles exiting the ports has significantly increased. Finding and identifying a stolen vehicle amongst thousands of exports is like finding a needle in a haystack. The CBSA officers, who have the authority and jurisdiction to conduct daily audits of export declarations (primary examination), as well as to select containers of interest for secondary examination at docks or warehouses, are working with Équité and the SPVM to mitigate these exports. The partnership is unique and dependent on all parties’ participation, expertise and jurisdiction.

As with all insurance crime, collaboration is the key to addressing this issue. Additionally, greater engagement on behalf of the federal and the provincial government is required in order to adequately resource the CBSA and address any legislative impediments. It is only together that we can protect Canadians against insurance crimes.