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Federal government giving $121M to Ontario police to crack down on auto thefts

Federal Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc said the new money for Ontario police is coming from a national fund of $390 million set aside by Ottawa in 2023. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Federal Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc said the new money for Ontario police is coming from a national fund of $390 million set aside by Ottawa in 2023. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The federal government says it is providing $121 million for police in Ontario to target gun and gang violence with a particular focus on the surge in auto thefts and carjackings.

Details of the funding were announced Wednesday by the federal Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc and Minister of Justice Arif Virani, as well as Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the province's solicitor general and attorney general.

The money for Ontario is coming from a larger federal fund of $390 million set aside by Ottawa in 2023 for the national Initiative to take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence.

The news conference came in the wake of LeBlanc's announcement that he is convening a national summit on combating auto theft next month that will include political leaders, police, border agents and auto industry executives.

Vehicle theft, including violent and armed carjackings, is on the rise in Ontario, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area.

Toronto police Chief Myron Demkiw told CBC News this week that many auto theft rings, which often send stolen vehicles overseas to sell in places like North Africa and the Middle East, have ties to organized crime. A record number of stolen vehicles were intercepted by the Canada Border Services Agency last year.

The Ontario government is spending $18 million on prevention efforts, and has also launched a task force aimed at disrupting the "networks responsible for high-risk auto thefts."

More to come.