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07/26/2022

Gas theft is a growing issue in Ontario

Protect your business and get involved.
Dave Bryans
President, OCSA
Dave Bryans profile picture

Gas thefts are on the rise and the Ontario Convenience Stores Association is working closely with the Ontario Association of Police Chiefs to encourage the government to act on this industry issue.

OCSA will continue to advocate for prepay for gas at all self-serve islands, while allowing for stations to offer full-service to customers where an attendant can guarantee no gas thefts.

Gas thefts continue to increase in every community, and we need the Ford administration to quickly revive their Gas & Dash legislation to protect your business, your employees and safety of all customers.

As you may recall, Bill 231 - Protecting Ontarians by Enhancing Gas Station Safety to Prevent Gas and Dash Act, 2020 - passed second reading in November 2020 and was supposed to be referred to Ontario’s Standing Committee on Social Policy. We were hopeful, however it did not proceed further after the legislative session ended in the fall of 2021.

Now operators are in limbo. With the rising costs of fuel, we are seeing more people (criminals) driving away without paying and this needs to be addressed, as we have seen in British Columbia and Alberta.

Let’s not allow this issue be forgotten, as margins are so thin for the independent gas operators and we need to speak out.

Mandating “pre-pay at the pump” has many benefits for the public and our small business members, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Prevents potential injury to retail associates and employees.
  • Prevents theft for retail owners who are relying on the small margins they require to earn a livable wage.
  • Relieves the burden on law enforcement which has limited capacity to assist in “gas-and-dash” cases.
  • Levels the playing field for all convenience stores, including independents and large chains.

There is minimal impact to in-store sales for most retailers, as evidenced by examples in Alberta and British Columbia.

     

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