We all pay a price for retail theft: December crackdown on theft aims to protect employees and consumers - Retail Council of Canada
Loss Prevention | National

We all pay a price for retail theft: December crackdown on theft aims to protect employees and consumers

December 12, 2023

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and police agencies across the country have launched a national theft blitz during the month of December in order to raise awareness of retail crime.

Retailers and police agencies worked together in September 2023 to implement a first-of-its-kind national coordinated retail blitz. The results during this short period were staggering: 498 persons were arrested, 52 repeat offenders were identified and 28 weapons were seized. The total value of the goods stolen was $94,000. Due to the success of this exercise, a decision was made to repeat these efforts on an even larger scale during the month of December to coincide with the holiday shopping season.

Theft is often thought of as a victimless crime, but it’s not. It costs Canadian retailers billions of dollars a year – costs that are borne by all consumers when they go shopping. In addition to being frustrated by financial losses, business owners are concerned for the safety of their customers and employees.

Shoplifting has increased across all categories including food, apparel, and footwear merchandise. Escalating inflation and a growing re-sale market for stolen goods are some of the contributors. But there is also an alarming trend of repeat offenders and people using violence to commit their crimes, along with an increase in organized retail crime groups.

Retailers report that incidents of retail theft that involve some form of violence have increased 300% over the past four years.

“Employees and customers shouldn’t be worried about encountering violence when they are in a retail establishment,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada. “Violent and aggressive behaviour is increasing at an alarming rate and we look forward to collaborating with community partners on raising awareness, sharing resources, and implementing actionable solutions to reduce retail crime.”

As RCC’s nationally coordinated blitz initiative continues to grow, we hope that municipal police services that didn’t have the capacity to participate to date, will be able to in the future.


About Retail Council of Canada

Retail is Canada’s largest private-sector employer with over 2.3 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates over $91 billion in wages and employee benefits. Core retail sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) were over $462B in 2022. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two-thirds of core retail sales through small, medium, and large retail businesses across the country. This includes 54,000 storefronts including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers, online merchants and quick service restaurants. Our grocery members alone represent more than 95 per cent of the market in Canada.

For more information, contact:
Michelle Wasylyshen at mwasylyshen@retailcouncil.org