Équité seeks better anti-theft standards

Sept. 11, 2023 — WITH THE rate of auto thefts soaring across the country, Équité Association says Canada’s motor vehicle safety regulations need to be updated to make current anti-theft devices mandatory.

The p&c industry-funded, not-for-profit fraud-fighting organization has noted that federal theft prevention standards have not been updated since their implementation in 2007 — before keyless and remote start technologies were introduced in vehicles.

“When these standards were adopted, there was no consideration of starting vehicles with a button,” said Bryan Gast, Équité’s investigative services VP. “Criminals are now taking advantage of outdated standards. They can quickly and easily exploit these vulnerabilities, which has led to a significant increase in the number of stolen vehicles in Canada.”

Équité said the Ottawa-based standards development organization USLE recently released new safety recommendations that include a standard for manufacturers to install an anti-theft device in every new vehicle.

And Équité said that the devices should be no more than three years old to stay current with modern anti-theft technology.

Premium price comparison site Ratesdotca said recently that its data shows auto insurance rates for the most frequently stolen vehicles have increased between 25% and 50% over the last two years.

Citing data from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Ratesdotca said insured losses from auto theft claims in Ontario in 2022 hit $700m — an increase of more than 300% over 2018.

Ratesdotca warned that boosting devices can amplify the signal from a nearby key fob to unlock a door to steal a vehicle within a few seconds.

“And then (thieves) find an underground parking lot and park it there for a few nights until the stolen car falls off the radar and police are not looking for it anymore,” Ratesdotca’s Daniel Ivans said. “Then they drive it to the port, pack it in a shipping container and send it overseas.”

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