Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

November 18, 2010 11:19 ET

Legislation Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime to Receive Royal Assent

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Nov. 18, 2010) - The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, today announced on behalf of the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, that legislation to protect Canadians from property crime and auto theft will receive Royal Assent later this afternoon. The Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act will help crack down on property crime, including auto theft and trafficking in property that is obtained by crime.

"Auto theft has a huge impact on Canadians, especially here in Winnipeg," said Minister Toews. "It harms the owners financially and threatens community safety. With this legislation, our Government is taking tough action to prevent repeat car thieves from moving stolen vehicles through the criminal economy within Canada or smuggling them into international markets."

Trafficking in stolen property, along with drug trafficking and fraud, has been identified as a primary activity for organized crime. Auto theft affects many individual Canadians and businesses – whether through financial loss or as a result of reckless behaviour and high-speed chases.

Once this new law comes into force, law enforcement and the courts will have better tools to tackle auto theft and the entire range of activities involved in the trafficking of all types of stolen or fraudulently obtained property.

The new legislation includes provisions that:

  • create a separate offence of "theft of a motor vehicle," which carries a mandatory prison sentence of 6 months for conviction of a third or subsequent offence when the prosecutor proceeds by indictment;
  • establish a new offence for altering, destroying or removing a vehicle identification number (VIN);
  • make it an offence to traffic in property obtained by crime; and,
  • make it an offence to possess such property for the purpose of trafficking.

In addition, the Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act will allow the Canada Border Services Agency to detain suspected stolen property before it is exported from the country, which will reduce the exportation of stolen vehicles from Canada by organized crime.

"Auto theft, along with other forms of property crime, helps gangs and organized crime stay in business," said Minister Rob Nicholson, "This legislation will help disrupt criminal enterprises and send a clear message to gangs and organized crime that if you engage in auto theft, there will be consequences."

The Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act will come into force at a time to be determined, in order to allow the provinces and territories time to prepare for the changes.

For an online version of the legislation, visit

(Version française disponible)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Justice
    Pamela Stephens
    Press Secretary
    Department of Justice Canada
    Media Relations