'Pay before you pump' law proposed in Ontario
Published Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:01AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 20, 2012 3:04PM EDT
A private member’s bill aimed at stopping “gas and dash” thefts at Ontario petrol stations was introduced at Queen’s Park on Thursday.
Liberal MPP Mike Colle introduced the bill during a session of parliament that would make it a requirement that customers pay for gas before filling up at the pumps.
The bill will be called “Jayesh’s Law” in honour of 44-year-old Jayesh Prajapati, a Toronto gas station attendant who was killed in a gas and dash over the weekend.
Prajapati was fatally struck by a vehicle at a Shell gas station located at the intersection of Marlee and Roselawn Avenues, west of Allen Road, last Saturday after trying to stop the driver from leaving without paying a $112 gas bill.
“Jayesh’s Law” seeks to make prepayment a requirement across the province as well as slap fines on gas stations that force employees to pay for stolen gas.
“Out of this we have discovered there is a very unfair and unjust practice taking place in the workplace, as far as gas station attendants are concerned,” Colle told a press conference.
“In my bill I have specific recommendations that increase the penalties for any individual or any company that participates in this claw back of people’s wages.”
The death has prompted a police investigation, outrage from the community and an investigation from Ontario’s Ministry of Labour.
Minister of Labour Linda Jeffrey says her office has launched a health and safety investigation and wants to know if the station in question has violated any employment standards. Prajapati’s family told CTV Toronto that his wages had been docked in the past and he feared losing more money.
"We owe it to the family to take a long, hard look at what lessons we might draw from this incident," Jeffrey told the legislature on Wednesday.
The investigation will consider what caused the attendant to try chasing down a fleeing vehicle.
Jeffrey stressed to the provincial legislature that it is illegal for an employer to dock an employee’s wages if something is lost or stolen during their shift.
Shell Canada has stated that the company rules forbid workers from intervening in gas-and-dash incidents.
Prepayment at gas stations became mandatory in British Columbia after a man was dragged to death while trying to stop a $12 gas and dash in 2008. The practice is also common in parts of the U.S.
Police have issued a warrant for 39-year-old Max Edwin Tutiven, who faces a charge of second-degree murder. They are urging Tutiven to turn himself in.
A trust fund has been set up to assist the Prajapati family at: CIBC – 89 Humber College Blvd, Transit # 01122, Account #8220433, Institution #010.