48 vehicles have been stolen from the Trudeau government since 2016

While the Trudeau government claims it is cracking down on the surge of auto thefts across Canada, the problem has been hitting home for the government as well, newly released documents detail.

As many as 48 government vehicles have been stolen from 14 departments and agencies between January 2016 and February 2024, according to documents tabled in the House of Commons on Monday.

Between 2021 and 2023, the official vehicle of the minister of justice has been stolen three times, proving that no one in Canada is immune to this escalating problem. 

The majority of vehicles were stolen in Ontario, with 10 being taken in Ottawa and two in the Greater Toronto Area.  

Reports of stolen government vehicles were also made in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Nunavut.

The government department hit the hardest by auto theft was the RCMP, with 19 of its vehicles stolen over that period, predominantly in the Prairies. 

The Parks Canada department was next on the list with seven vehicles stolen, then Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, which reported four stolen vehicles.

The Canada Border Services Agency and Indigenous Services Canada each reported three vehicles stolen as well. 

Other government departments that fell prey to having a vehicle stolen include, the Canadian Revenue Agency, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, the Finance Department, Transport Canada and Global Affairs Canada.

According to the documents, of the 48 stolen vehicles, two were stolen twice and 34 have since been recovered.

Police data compiled by the Equite Association in February found that over 70,000 vehicles were stolen last year in Canada. According to the report, between 2021 and 2023, stolen vehicles increased by 48% in Ontario, 58% in Quebec and 34% in Atlantic Canada. 

Around one-third of all stolen vehicles are then resold within Canada, however the majority are ferried out of the country via organized crime syndicates in shipping containers often bound for Africa and the Middle East.

Investigators who are part of a multi-jurisdictional investigation into Canada’s auto theft crisis announced the recovery of 598 stolen vehicles last month since their investigation was launched in December 2023. 

“In Canada, a vehicle is stolen every five minutes,” said Bryan Gast, vice president of investigative services for Équité Association at the press conference in Montreal. “Auto theft has reached crisis levels in Canada.”

Auto theft claims have skyrocketed since 2020, up 319% nationally, which prompted the Ontario Provincial Police’s Auto Theft and Towing team to partner up with the Canada Border Service Agency to recover vehicles and intercept them before they’re illegally exported out of the country. 

The ongoing investigation, which has been billed “Project Vector,” is being carried out in collaboration with the Sûreté du Quèbec, Montreal Police, and the Équité Association. 

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