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Ontario government revives gas-and-dash Bill

MPP Deepak Anand reintroduces legislation designed to improve safety and reduce theft.
Michelle Warren smiles
Man  hand holding nozzle to refuel the car
Man  hand holding nozzle to refuel the car

After a few bumps along the way, on March 29 MPP Deepak Anand brought to life a new Bill designed to protect workers and prevent gas-and-dash thefts in Ontario. 

This is the MPP's second attempt to bring this legislation to life. His original Bill 231, Protecting Ontarians by Enhancing Gas Station Safety to Prevent Gas and Dash Act, was introduced in 2020.

It received unanimous consent, passed a second reading and was supposed to be referred to Ontario’s Standing Committee on Social Policy, however this was halted when the legislative session collapsed in the fall of 2021.

Since then, the industry has been working hard to get it back on the agenda, particularly with rising fuel prices and crime. 

READ: Police, convenience store industry prepare for gas thefts as prices continue to rise

“We will finally see prepay at the pumps in all gas stations in Ontario when this reintroduced Bill gets government approval in the near future,” says Dave Bryans, president of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. “Safety of our employees and customers has been our #1 priority.”

This new Bill 88 - 'Protecting Ontarians by Enhancing Gas Station Safety to Prevent Gas and Dash Act 2023' - was introduce March 29. It still has to go through a second and third reading, then will come into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

 

 

 

Ontario Parliament buildings

Bill 88

The Bill amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act to add a new section 53.2 requiring employers at gas stations to require customers to prepay for gasoline before pumping it from a gasoline pump that has prepayment technology (technology that can prevent a person from taking gasoline from the pump before paying for it). The new section applies to gas stations in the Greater Toronto Area (the geographic area composed of the City of Toronto and the regional municipalities of Durham, Halton, Peel and York). It also applies in any municipality that passes a resolution requesting the application of the section and that is listed in a regulation made under the Act. The new section also requires the employer at the station to affix a notice to any pumps with prepayment technology informing customers of the prepayment requirements under the section, as well as to provide worker safety training to those of its workers involved in selling gasoline at the station. The owner of the gas station must ensure that any new or replacement gasoline pumps that are installed at the station have prepayment technology. The application of the new section in a municipality is phased: there is a six-month window before any requirements begin to apply, and for the first year after that, the requirement that employers ensure that customers prepay for gasoline before pumping it applies only to gasoline sold between the hours of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

 

 

 

"Once passed, this bill will provide workplace safety to gas station owners and employees & protect innocent bystanders from risk of gas thefts and drive offs," says Bryans. "The OCSA has been the driving force of this Bill in conjunction with the Chiefs of Police Association and pleased to see the support of all parties at Queens Park."

Bryans says the legislation will go a long way in eliminate small business losses, while freeing up police services in the province.

Several provinces, including Alberta and British Columbia, already mandate pre-pay at the pump. Earlier this year, the Board of Police Commissioners in Prince Albert, Sask. recommended a new gas-and-dash bylaw following high volume of fuel theft complaints

While most gas stations offer the option to pay at the pump, benefits of mandated pre-payment include:

  • Preventing potential injury to retail associates and employees.
  • Preventing theft for retail owners who are relying on the small margins they require to earn a livable wage.
  • Relieving the burden on law enforcement which has limited capacity to assist in “gas-and-dash” cases.
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