Good News: Ontario Wants to Ban Car Thieves From Driving Altogether

A first offense would earn a 10-year driving ban while three-time offenders would be barred from driving for life.

byChris Tsui|
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As the war between Toronto-area car thieves and, well, everybody else rages on, legislators are proposing a penalty in the hopes of curbing the problem: potentially permanent driving bans.

The government of Ontario is introducing legislation that, if passed, would see people convicted of car theft have their driver's licenses suspended as a deterrent. According to a news release, the proposed three-stage punishment is as follows: the first offense would result in a 10-year license suspension, a second offense would earn a 15-year suspension, and a third offense would result in a lifetime driving ban. The federal mandatory minimum prison sentence for a third car theft offense in Canada is six months.

“Car theft is a cowardly and often violent crime that can traumatize victims and communities who experience it,” said Ontario's Minister of Transportation Prabmeet Sarkaria. “...our government is sending a clear message to those who commit these crimes and using every tool in our toolbox to keep them off our streets.”

However, the release points out that the suspensions would only apply to auto theft convictions where "the court found that aggravating factors were involved in the commission of the offense, such as violence, use of a weapon, use of force, threat, or pursuit of financial gain." So, I guess carjackers who peacefully pick locks purely to go on joyrides are off the hook.

Other ways to combat car theft brought up by Ontario leaders include crackdowns at the ports where stolen vehicles are often exported for profit, with Brampton mayor Patrick Brown saying, "We urgently need our federal partners to immediately implement scanners at our ports so we can plug the hole in the bucket of auto thefts in Canada."

Per the province, a vehicle is stolen in Ontario every 14 minutes while the city of Toronto saw violent carjackings spike by 78% since 2021.

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