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Car thieves and stunt drivers will likely be facing stiffer penalties under newly proposed legislation from the Ontario government.

The province said it will be introducing new legislation, that if passed, would ensure that anyone convicted of motor vehicle theft or stunt driving receives a minimum mandatory licence suspension.

For a first offence, car thieves would face a 10-year licence suspension, a 15-year licence suspension for a second offence, and a lifetime licence suspension for a third offence. The licence suspensions would apply to convictions where there were aggravating factors in the theft, such as violence, use of a weapon, use of force, threat, or pursuit of financial gain.

As well, stunt drivers would receive a one-year suspension for a first conviction, three years for a second conviction and a lifetime suspension, reducible to 10 years under certain criteria, for a third conviction.

The Ontario government said auto thefts, carjackings, and stunt driving incidents have been on the rise across the province and it is hoped that the new legislation will be an effective deterrent.

According to statistics provided by the province, a vehicle is stolen every 14 minutes in Ontario. As well, over 12,000 stunt driving arrests were made by police in Ontario in 2023, the highest number since the COVID-19 pandemic.