Insurance industry group Equite Association says vehicle theft in multiple provinces surged last year.

The non-profit association, which focuses on the prevention of insurance fraud and crime, says in a report that the Canadian insurance industry lost more than a billion dollars for the first time on vehicle theft claims in 2022.

Vehicle theft was up by 50 per cent in Quebec year over year, by 48.3 per cent in Ontario, by 34.5 per cent in Atlantic Canada and by 18.3 per cent in Alberta.

Equite Association president and CEO Terri O'Brien says vehicle theft has become a national crisis.

The report says that the national vehicle recovery rate was 57 per cent, with higher rates in Atlantic Canada and Alberta.

The organization says most of the stolen vehicles in Quebec and Ontario are newer, because organized crime rings are focusing on new and luxury vehicles for maximum profit overseas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2023.