New gas-and-dash bill introduced
Province proposes changes to Occupational Health and Safety Code requiring pre-payment for fuel
Tuesday, Nov 07, 2017 06:00 am
In an effort to curb “gas-and-dash” incidents that have killed five workers and seriously injured three in Alberta over the past three years, the NDP have introduced a bill requiring pre-payment for fuel.
According to a government press release, An Act to Protect Gas and Convenience Store Workers would amend the Occupational Health and Safety Code to include mandatory pre-payment for fuel. Violence-prevention plans would also become mandatory at retail fuel and convenience stores.
“As Albertans, our hearts break when we see incidents of violence involving workers. That’s why we are taking action to increase safety for retail fuel and convenience store workers by introducing mandatory violence-prevention plans and pre-payment options for fuel,” said Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray. “This legislation would better protect workers and prevent violent incidents from happening in Alberta.”
Athabasca Husky gas station owner Randy Skarpinsky said pre-payment for fuel has now been implemented at his store for safety reasons, noting that it is already in effect in British Columbia and in most of the United States.
“I definitely think it’s a great idea,” he said. “Look at all the injuries and deaths that we’ve had in Alberta in the last two years. It started with the Husky family member in Edmonton, in an altercation over a small amount of fuel, and the guy died over it.”
He said Husky wanted to make a change and did a pilot project in Edmonton. He said by the end of December, all Husky fuel stations across Canada only sell fuel by pre-payment.
“Some customers did go to other stores,” he said “But you know, at the end of the day it was safety.”
Man fined $390 for double gas-and-dash
A 54-year-old man was fined $390 for two gas-and-dash incidents at Athabasca fuel stations in January.
Marcel Carothers pleaded guilty to one count of theft under $5,000 in Athabasca Provincial Court on Oct. 30.
Crown prosecutor Mark Facundo said that on Jan. 2, Athabasca RCMP an employee at the Petro-Canada station reported that the driver of a Black Dodge Ram had put gas in his truck, went to the bathroom and drove away.
Facundo also said that on Jan. 5, a similar situation reportedly happened at the Athabasca Husky station.
Defense lawyer Bruce Lennon pointed out that his client had been beaten up in February, and had ended up with a severe brain injury.
“He accepts responsibility,” Lennon said.
Facundo said the defendant had paid restitution to the gas stations, and suggested a joint submission of a $300 fine.
Judge Thomas Achtymichuk said he accepted the submission, tacking on a $90 victim fine surcharge.
“I take into account your personal circumstances,” he said.