(Figure in 6th paragraph in U.S. dollars)
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA May 26 Canada is probing two fatal
crashes in General Motors Co vehicles which were subject
to a recall to fix faulty switches and has received nine further
complaints from drivers, the country's top transportation
official told Reuters on Monday.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said she was sure the number
of complaints potentially linking accidents to the switches
would rise as people became aware of the recall.
"There were two accidents into which we are currently having
investigations which may be related to this defect and this
recall and I can confirm that," she said in a telephone
An official at Transport Canada - the federal transportation
ministry - earlier said both accidents involved vehicles which
were subject to the recall. The airbags did not deploy in either
Complaints about the crashes were filed in June 2013 and
April of this year. Raitt said she did not know how long
Transport Canada's probes would take to wrap up.
The United States this month fined GM $35 million for not
recalling cars with faulty ignition switches as quickly as
At least 13 deaths in the United States have so far been
linked to the problem.
Asked whether she felt fatal crashes in Canada could be
linked to the faulty switches, Raitt told Reuters: "I think
people are going to take a look at the accidents they had and
wonder whether or not the faulty switch was at fault and I
expect Transport Canada will get more phone calls."
Raitt said Ottawa is trying to determine whether the firm
had delayed the recall of some cars, breaking the law in doing
so, but she added that there was no evidence that GM Canada had
contravened Canadian laws.
"If information comes to light that GM Canada is not being
truthful with us, we do have the ability to go back and
prosecute," she said.
Raitt said she did not know how Transport Canada would
handle the nine complaints. Asked about the complaints, GM
Canada said it was working closely with the ministry.
"We will continue to offer our full cooperation with the
federal government as we work through these difficult issues,"
said spokeswoman Adria MacKenzie.
(Additional reporting by Susan Taylor in Toronto, editing by G