Copper Theft from Canada’s Electricity Infrastructure

Dangerous, Expensive and a Threat to Reliability

As Canada’s electricity sector enters a transformative period, the way that the nation protects Canada’s grid must also evolve to meet new and growing threats. Theft of copper from the electricity infrastructure, while not a new threat is a growing one that is dangerous, expensive and a threat to the reliability of Canada’s electricity system


Copper theft not only puts the lives of the thieves at risk – with several fatalities occurring in recent years – but also the safety of emergency first responders, utility workers and local residents.


The theft of copper is extremely costly to the electricity sector as well as to construction, telecommunication and industrial companies. While copper is an expensive material to replace, costs to repair damaged infrastructure can be even more significant to these sectors.


Copper is an essential component in ensuring electricity system reliability. It is vital to the safe and reliable generation, transmission and distribution of electricity to homes and businesses. Copper thefts cause unwanted disruptions to the services Canadians and businesses count on.

Each and every year there are hundreds of copper thefts across the country which have resulted in power outages, increased costs to utilities which are ultimately passed on to Canadians, injuries and in some cases, even deaths.

As the voice of the Canadian electricity sector since 1891 the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) believes further action must be taken to deter copper theft in Canada. Decision-makers at all levels of Government must begin to work together to address this serious and dangerous issue. There are four detailed recommendations that CEA believes are vital to deterring copper thefts in Canada:-

  1. Action by all – A national plan to implement best practices and approaches across the country.
  2. Coalitions to stop copper theft – Communities working together locally to prevent copper theft.
  3. Provincial regulation of Scrap Metal Dealers – to take the cash out of copper theft.
  4. Amendments to the Canadian Criminal Code – to accurately reflect the severity of copper theft.

By working together and implementing the four recommendations the CEA believes that the country can be successful in significantly reducing copper thefts across the country. By doing so Canada can reduce injuries and fatal accidents, achieve cost savings for the electricity sector and Canadian consumers and ensure Canadians can have access to reliable electricity.

For more information please see:-