TORONTO, Ont. – A bill aimed at improving workplace safety for gas station attendants is being re-introduced in the Ontario legislature.
Eglinton-Lawrence MPP Mike Colle said Tuesday he will be bringing Jayesh’s Law back to the table for consideration after it was stalled in October following Dalton McGuinty’s suspension of the House. Legislators are expected to vote on the bill on Thursday.
The private members’ bill, which is named after Jayesh Prajapati, the 44-year-old gas station attendant killed during a so-called gas and dash at a west-end Shell station in September, would implement safety regulations for workers including fining employers who force workers to pay for thefts out of their own wages.
“There is no way in God’s earth that someone making $10 an hour should have to go to work every day wondering if they’re going to encounter one of these gas thieves and wondering whether their lives are going to be at risk,” Colle said at a news conference.
Jayesh’s Law has gained widespread support among law officials across the GTA.
The police forces in York, Toronto and Hamilton support it, he said.
Colle said that only about half of the gas and dash thefts in the GTA actually get reported. It’s estimated that about 10,000 took place last year, with their occurrences spiking during periods of high gas prices.
“The police will tell you, and have told me emphatically, that this is not a victimless crime. You’re not stealing gas from the oil companies. You’re not hurting them,” said Colle.
“These are serious criminal acts that endanger the safety of gas station operators, the gas station managers and the public who go to the station to get the gas. “
Jayesh’s widow Vaishali also spoke out in support of the bill.
“I believe that Jayesh’s Law would help reduce crime and provide a better and safer work environment for gas station workers and customers,” she said “What I have experienced should not happen to any other family. I lost Jayesh, who was everything to me.”
If passed, Jayesh’s Law would also require gas station employers to provide worker safety training, suspend the driver’s licences of individuals convicted of gas theft and implement pre-payment for gasoline before pumping in major metropolitan areas.
Colle cited that incidents of gas and dash were virtually eliminated in British Columbia after it implemented a pay before pumping policy.
Prajapati was struck and killed on Sept. 15, 2012, while trying to stop a driver from leaving a Shell gas station without paying for nearly $113 in fuel.
Police are still looking for Max Edwin Tutiven, 39, who they believe may have fled to Montreal. He faces second-degree murder in Prajapati’s death.