August 29, 2023

Criminals taking advantage of Canada's outdated motor vehicle safety regulations causing a drastic increase in auto theft

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Équité Association Calls on Transport Canada to Adopt New Standards set out by UL Standards & Engagement (ULSE)

TORONTO, Aug. 29, 2023 /CNW/ - As auto theft numbers continue to skyrocket across Canada, Équité Association is calling on Transport Canada to take decisive action to update Canada's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations by adopting the recently updated safety standards by UL Standards & Engagement (ULSE).

In addition to costing Canadians billions of dollars each year, the proceeds from vehicle theft are known to fund organized crime and terrorism, both domestically and internationally. As a result, Canada has involuntarily become a source country for stolen vehicles which are frequently trafficked in order to finance and carry out other criminal activities, ranging from drug trafficking, arms dealing, human trafficking and international terrorism.

The current theft prevention standards included in Canada's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations are outdated. These standards have not been updated since implemented in 2007, before keyless and remote start technologies were introduced in vehicles. However, as vehicles have evolved to include new innovations and technology, these outdated regulations require modernization to include the latest anti-theft technologies as well.

"Back in 2007, when those standards where adopted, considerations were not given to push button start vehicles," said Bryan Gast, VP, Investigative Services, Équité Association. "Criminals are now taking advantage of the outdated standards. They are able to quickly and easily exploit these vulnerabilities, which has led to this significant increase in stolen vehicles across Canada."

In its recently published document, Standard for Automobile Theft Deterrent Equipment and Systems: Electronic Immobilization, CAN/ULC 338 Second Edition, ULSE provides a set of current standards needed in order for Transport Canada to update and modernize the vehicle safety standards.

Of particular importance is an effective anti-theft device that should be installed by manufacturers in every new vehicle. Équité Association recommends these devices never be more than three years old, in order to remain current with the modern anti-theft technology.  

"With consumers spending tens of thousands of dollars on a new vehicle, they should not be expected to absorb additional costs for an aftermarket immobilizer," said Terri O'Brien, President & CEO, Équité Association. "Auto theft is threatening public safety on a daily basis. Canadians deserve protection from the organized crime syndicates who are behind this drastic increase in auto theft, and the reassurance in knowing that their vehicle is not at risk due to outdated standards."

"Our mission is to work for a safer world and this standard is our mission in action," said Dr. David Steel, Executive Director of ULSE. "The impact this modernized standard will have is made possible by the support of our technical committee that volunteers their time and their expertise for the benefit of public safety."

For those provinces where data was available, Canadians witnessed double-digit increases in vehicle theft in 2022, with the provincial breakdowns as follows:

  • Ontario up 48.3% year over year
  • Quebec up 50% year over year
  • Alberta up 18.3% year over year (after several years of decline)
  • Atlantic Canada up 34.5% year over year

In just Toronto alone, vehicle thefts surpassed break-and-enters as the second most prevalent, a 44.8% increase year over year.

The link to the "digital view" of the Standard for Automobile Theft Deterrent Equipment and Systems: Electronic Immobilization, CAN/ULC 338 Second Edition, can be found here.

About Équité Association

Équité Association is a not-for-profit, national organization, supporting Canadian property and casualty (P&C) insurers. Équité combats the insurance crime problem that exploits vulnerable Canadians through advanced analytics, intelligence best practices, and coordinated investigations. Delivering improved service and fraud analytics for vehicle, property, and cargo recovery to its members, Équité collaborates with law enforcement, partners and industry organizations to protect Canadians against exploitation.

Learn more about Équité Association at

About UL Standards & Engagement

UL Standards & Engagement is a nonprofit organization that translates safety science into action through standards development, partnerships and advocacy. Since 1903, we have developed nearly 1,700 standards and guidance documents for products ranging from fire doors to autonomous vehicles. ULSE enables innovation and grows trust by convening experts and informing policymakers and regulators as we work toward a safer, more secure and sustainable future. Visit for more information.

For further information, contact Jordan Kerbel, Director, Media Relations, Équité Association,