Feds unveil national plan to tackle auto theft, including criminal code changes

A national auto theft plan

The federal government says more intelligence sharing among police forces and a working group involving all levels of government are among the measures it's implementing as part of a national strategy to combat auto theft.

A number of senior cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, unveiled the strategy in Brampton, Ont., today months after the feds convened a summit to address what it describes as a complex and growing international concern. 

Several of the measures touted in the new strategy, such as $28 million meant to help prevent cars from being shipped abroad and the introduction of new offenses to the country's criminal code, were previously announced in this year's federal budget. 

But the National Action Plan on Combatting Auto Theft also calls for more interventions at ports, with the Canada Border Services Agency tasked with expanding searches of shipping containers in a bid to stop vehicles from being sent overseas.

It also says Public Safety Canada will lead a working group involving all provincial and territorial governments, a move LeBlanc says will ensure everyone remains at the table focused on finding practical solutions to tackle the issue.

The new strategy touts some successes in addressing auto theft since the February summit, including integrating the RCMP's stolen vehicle database with one kept by Interpol and a 105-per-cent year-over-year increase in the number of vehicles the Canadian Border Services Agency recovered as of May 4.

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