43rd Parliament, 1st Session

L068B - Thu 20 Apr 2023 / Jeu 20 avr 2023


Report continued from volume A.


Private Members’ Public Business

Protecting Ontarians by Enhancing Gas Station Safety to Prevent Gas and Dash Act, 2023 / Loi de 2023 visant à protéger la population ontarienne en augmentant la sécurité aux stations-service pour éviter le vol d’essence

Mr. Anand moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 88, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide safety measures in respect of workers at gas stations / Projet de loi 88, Loi modifiant la Loi sur la santé et la sécurité au travail pour prévoir des mesures de sécurité à l’égard des travailleurs des stations-service.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): The member has 12 minutes for their presentation.

Mr. Deepak Anand: It is a pleasure to rise in the House again to introduce Bill 88, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide safety measures in respect of workers at gas stations. This bill is an important step towards making gas station workers feel safe at the workplace.

Before I start, I want to acknowledge that as a first-generation immigrant, I’m thankful to the Indigenous community for taking care of this land for thousands of years and allowing us to meet here. I also want to acknowledge several generations of immigrants who came to Canada 300 or 500 years before and worked hard to build our country. Many of their descendants are now my friends and colleagues. So I just want to take a moment to thank each and every one who came before and after me. I want to say thank you for building a wonderful, strong Ontario, an Ontario which allows everyone to realize their dreams.

And of course, Madam Speaker, thanks to Mississauga–Malton residents, volunteers and my big extended family for your unwavering support and confidence. Your support gives me the strength to rise on issues that matter to the people of Ontario, including saving lives and avoiding risk and damage to people and property.

That is exactly what we’re doing through Bill 88, an act to provide safety measures at gas stations and save lives. This bill is all about our safety and well-being. It is important for creating a safe environment for those who work at gas stations to earn their livelihood, to those who are bystanders as consumers at a gas station and to those who put their lives at risk by driving off without paying at the gas station; they’re also equally vulnerable. In Ontario, multiple lives have been lost, including those of employees, of bystanders and even of somebody who’s driving off after a gas-and-dash.

Bill 88 aims to prevent these heartbreaking tragedies going forward. For example, in April 2021, a 66-year-old bystander was killed during a gas-and-dash near Woodstock. Stephen Madigan, a loving father, grandfather and senior lost his life to this senseless drive-off. That same year, in July, a suspect who was driving off lost his life after a roadside encounter with Chatham-Kent OPP officers. In our city of Mississauga, 62-year-old Hashem Atifeh Rad was struck and killed by a 22-year-old motorist in 2011. The only fault Hashem had was that he was trying to prevent a pump-and-run.

A year after that, in September 2012, a Toronto gas station attendant, Jayesh Prajapati, was dragged for almost 80 metres by an SUV fleeing the scene after a gas theft. Prajapati was a loving, caring father and died in an accident that was absolutely preventable. Madam Speaker, it is hard to even imagine the trauma of his wife and his child having lost this father to this senseless, preventable incident.

In all these cases, families could have been spared the pain of losing their loved ones with a single simple solution. The simple solution is the act of changing your habit to pay before you pump. That’s all that’s required. And it’s not the first time we’re talking about this. Similar bills were introduced in 2012, then in 2013 and then in 2020, but they never got enough traction to go through, despite being supported by the members of all parties. We’ve missed many opportunities to act decisively, while others did and saved lives.

I’ll give you an example. In 2008, a similar thing happened. Grant De Patie was killed by a 60-year-old driver in a gas-and-dash in British Columbia. The government of British Columbia swiftly acted and put together Grant’s Law, mandating that motorists prepay for gasoline before they pump. Grant’s Law has dramatically reduced gas-and-dashes and saved lives, and has saved policeman hours and their resources as well. They’re not the only one. We have seen it all across the US.

Let’s talk about Alberta. Alberta followed suit after the death of Surinder Pal Singh in 2015, and then another death, of Mr. Ki Yun Jo, in 2017. Alberta made sure that they implemented prepayment. Again, since then, there is no gas-and-dash, no lost life in either Alberta or in BC. Clearly, Madam Speaker, this is a 100% preventable issue. The bill seeks to change the mindset of drivers to prepay before filling up at the gas station. It’s not asking them to pay more. It’s not adding the cost to the businesses. It’s not adding the cost to the taxpayers. Again, we have an opportunity to collaborate and save lives. Even though the members of all the parties, I hope, are going to support this—but we need to get traction.

So what is different this time? My team and I have consulted multiple stakeholders on the issue and the previous versions of the bill. What did we do wrong? What can we do more? And based on their feedback, Madam Speaker, we have revised the scope of the bill. What are we doing now? We’re using a targeted approach. The new bill is scoped down to only apply to gas stations in the greater Toronto area. Why? Because the GTA is a high-risk area with sufficient technology and resources to meet the standards of this bill.

Further, Madam Speaker, if you look at the data, York saw a 66% jump in gas-and-dashes in 2021 alone. Peel reported a 43% rise in gas theft. Halton has 1,000, on average, gas-and-dashes every year. Madam Speaker, according to the Peel police data, Mississauga reported 755 gas-and-dash cases and recorded 41 just in the first three months of 2023.

And it costs police hours. York region police, for example, spent almost close to 2,000 hours on gas-and-dash, costing over $112,000. It is a vicious cycle of higher costs pushing gas-and-dash incidents higher and in turn pushing police costs up. On a given day, the data suggests between 100 and 150 gas-and-dashes are happening. Within the time that we have to debate on this bill—let’s say 45 minutes—four to five gas-and-dashes will happen. What does that mean? That means four to five more incidents of risk of losing life. That is why, Madam Speaker, we need to break the vicious cycle, and we can do it together with Bill 88.

Under this bill, the GTA will be mandated to implement prepayment methods. Gas stations without the proper prepayment infrastructure would be exempted because we promised that there’s not going to be a cost to the businesses. And it will be implemented in phases. This bill will provide a six-month grace period for gas stations to educate and inform customers and staff about the new life-saving policy and provide time for the gas stations to comply. Subsequently, the first year after that, the requirement that employees ensure customers prepay for gasoline is only between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Why are we doing this? We’re doing this to prep the consumer to get ready for the change.

Now, of course, Madam Speaker, when I was talking to one of my colleagues, the question came: “Oh, one of my stakeholders wanted this bill, but you don’t have included non-GTA”—no, there is an option. We’re not forcing non-GTA municipalities, but we’re giving them the option to opt in. They have the flexibility to opt in by passing a resolution and requesting the bill’s application.

Madam Speaker, with drive-offs getting worse, this is the time to act before we lose another life. This is the time to ensure that gas station workers feel safe at their workplace like any other worker. Prepayment is consistent with almost everything that we do and we buy. Then why not gas? There’s no cost to the businesses, as I said, there’s no cost to the consumers, and there’s no cost to the taxpayers. The method of payment will remain the status quo. It is just about changing a habit, changing the mindset and resulting in elimination of drive-offs, and thus reducing the risk of injury and reducing the risk of property damage.

And we are not alone. During consultation, a gas station owner told me, “I want my customers to realize the small act of prepaying for fuel not only keeps my employees safe; I can also promise it will keep them out of possible harm on the way.”

The Ontario Convenience Store Association’s Dave Bryans said this law “would have far-reaching benefits for our small business retailers, the most important being a marked enhancement to safe workplace conditions for the 78,000 Ontarians who work in our retail channel.”


Madam Speaker, to conclude, the intention of this bill is the safety and well-being of our people. Together, let’s bring a change that will protect not only Ontarians, but also those who are visiting our great province. It will reduce the strain on stretched police resources that can be deployed in priority areas.

I implore all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to ensure that we bring safety and security for fellow Ontarians, let’s make prepayment at gas stations a reality. Let’s follow the suit of other provinces. They have done it. They’re enjoying the benefits. They have seen no more lost lives. Let’s not give the pain to the people of Ontario. Let’s give them an assurance that this government is here to support and work. Let’s make sure. Let’s support Bill 88, and let’s build a better, stronger Ontario for everyone.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

MPP Jamie West: Thank you very much, Speaker, and thank you as well to the member from Mississauga–Malton for his bill. It’s a good bill. I should just sit down at that point. Honestly, we debated this in the last Legislative Assembly session, and there were a couple of things that we had concerns about that he’s addressed and worked with stakeholders on, and so I want to compliment him for it.

In a nutshell, as he had explained just now, it’s just a pay-before-you-pump bill. And not just—there’s meaning for it, but if you’re just trying to talk to someone about it, that’s really what we’re talking about today.

I like the idea of having it phased in, the six-month window where it comes in, and for the first year it’s only required between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. I like that because in northern Ontario, this is relatively new. So the first couple of times coming down here to Queen’s Park, it was awkward for me to pay at the pump and not understand or go inside. And I imagine for a lot of people who aren’t used to it, there’s a learning curve, and so I like the idea of having it phased in.

I also like the idea that it’s going to be initially for the GTA area. That makes sense as well, because one of the concerns I had the last time the bill was tabled, Speaker, was that in smaller areas, when you’re going up north, for example, there is a community and then there’s nothing, and then there’s a community and then there’s nothing. In between, there are small gas stations, and I think those gas stations rely on that impulse buy. Maybe you see a lure that looks lucky for your fishing rod, or a bag of chips, or all that stuff—lottery tickets while you’re in line—and I want to ensure that those small businesses are able to decide for themselves if it makes sense for them. So I think that addresses that fairly well, and it allows it to be brought into other municipalities, so I want to compliment the member for doing that.

In one section, it amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide safety training. The wording says, “An employer at a gas station that has any gasoline pumps with prepayment technology shall provide training about worker safety in accordance with the prescribed requirements to workers involved in the sale of gasoline at the station,” which I think is good. If I were to look for a way to improve the bill, it would be to have a little more clarity, specifically just spelling out, “If someone is stealing gas, don’t chase them.” I think it’s implied in this, but in general, section 25(2)(h)—if you ever take a health and safety course, everyone knows section 25(2)(h), because it’s that the employer takes “every precaution reasonable” in the protection of the employee. So in general, it says, “Make sure this doesn’t happen,” but as we talk about the injuries and the deaths that happened, I think I can make a decent argument that employees are jumping in front of cars because there are unscrupulous employers who are demanding the money for the gas that is stolen comes out of their paycheques. So I think spelling that out very clearly in the act would help.

There have been similar ones in the past; the member opposite had talked about them already. Obviously, his bill from 2020 came out. There was a bill in 2012 from the MPP for Eglinton–Lawrence who had a gas-and-dash bill. In that one, the attendant was dragged and killed by someone fleeing without paying for their gas, and that was the second incident they had in two years.

The other one was Jayesh’s Law that the member had spoken about as well. The motorist had filled up; his SUV had $112 worth of gas. He left without paying and the attendant was struck by the vehicle. It killed him at 44 years old—44 years old, working at a gas station. All work is honourable; I’m not criticizing that. But I’m saying, at 44 years old, you’re just trying to make a living. You’re trying to take care of your kids, cover your rent. Being killed for less than $120 is a terrible thing to happen, and I think this is a good step in the right direction.

British Columbia has Grant’s Law, as the member had mentioned. Grant De Patie was dragged seven kilometres while trying to stop a gas-and-dash. Grant was 24 years old. It was about 12 bucks worth of gas that he got killed over. I can’t imagine being dragged seven kilometres. Like, $12 worth of gas—life is precious, as we know.

In Calgary, this was $113 worth of gas, but someone had stolen a Ford F-350 truck and they filled up, and the employee tried to stop the truck as it was leaving and this 35-year-old woman was killed for $113 worth of gas. There are many examples, and sadly, we can go on with all the different examples there are. I think this is a good way to start this.

I do want to say as well, though, we have to address the elephant in the room: There is a reason that employees are doing this. I know there is, because when I first got involved with the OFL, I was involved in my union as a steelworker, but in 2009, I started going to the OFL conference, and that’s when they elected Sid Ryan as the president. Sid Ryan had a very big gas-and-dash campaign, because there were complaints—first there was the employee who was killed, but there were other complaints from employees where we were finding out that the employers were deducting theft from them, of products in the gas station and theft for gas, which is illegal. Sometimes you need people to raise that and make that noise so that legislative officials like us hear it and pass laws. And so this is going to help absolutely reduce that, but we really need to echo how important it is that, as an employer, your employee is not liable for thefts on your property. That’s not why you pay them—especially minimum-wage employees.

So the concerns that I had—I was going through my notes from last time—mainly have been addressed, I think, with the work the member has done on the bill. I was worried about the impulse buyers, people who—it’s always great in a small business to have a little bit of “cost-plus,” right? I think that hopefully won’t be taken too badly, and I think smaller communities will be able to address that and decide for themselves if it makes sense to use the pay-before-you-pump. I think I was going to talk some more about the gas-and-dash campaign the OFL had, but the root of what’s going on here really is that it’s a good bill, it’s a supportable bill and it’s going to help make a difference.

I think we’re all aligned here. When you think of some of these names, when you think of Grant from BC losing his life over about $12 worth of gas, or Jayesh right here in Ontario for about $112 worth of gas, it’s great that we’re doing something about it. It’s really great. Any small things I have thought of could be fixed with amendments, or it’s probably good enough. I think it’s very difficult to get perfect legislation. So I think it’s a supportable bill and something that I want to compliment my friend from across the aisle on, because he has addressed the concerns that were brought up the last time we debated the bill and he has worked with people and gotten good feedback. That’s really the goal of what we do at the Legislature, we come forward with ideas and the opposition—officially we’re the opposition, but the government will make recommendations on ways they think our PMBs should be improved or how it should be. I think that’s what the people of Ontario love to see about us: instead of being a polarizing view, we work together to make bills better. I want to compliment the member opposite for looking at the concerns that we had.

So I think it’s great that we’re going to address people who are stealing gas, and I encourage the government to look out for the bad actors on the employer side. Many employers are great, but look out for the bad actors on the employer side who are deducting wages from their employees when there’s “spillage,” as it’s called in the industry—when things get stolen and it’s not the employees’ fault—so that we can prevent things like this from happening and so that people can make ends meet.

I’ll concede the rest of my time. My compliments again to the member opposite.


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Mr. Billy Pang: I would like to start off by expressing my appreciation to my colleague MPP Anand from the riding of Mississauga–Malton for introducing this important piece of legislation. Thank you for all your hard work.

Today I rise in support of Bill 88, the Protecting Ontarians by Enhancing Gas Station Safety to Prevent Gas and Dash Act. The bill aims to tackle the rise in gas-station thefts, commonly known as gas-and-dash incidents, which pose a threat to safety and well-being for gas station operators, employees and customers.

Gas thefts often occur during the evening and overnight hours, when gas stations are understaffed, making them an easy target for thieves. This bill seeks to address this issue by mandating drivers to prepay for their gasoline before pumping it. In the first year, the bill will require gas stations in the city of Toronto and the regional municipalities of Durham, Halton, Peel and York to have customers pay for gasoline sold between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. using a gasoline pump with prepayment technology.

Pay-at-the-pump technology is already prevalent in the greater Toronto area. Though it may cause a slight inconvenience or take a few extra minutes for some, paying before pumping is worth it to ensure that all workers can return safely to their families at the end of the day, and also to protect innocent bystanders from risk of gas theft and drive-offs.

This measure represents a significant step forward in promoting the safety and security of Ontarians. Once again, I commend MPP Anand for bringing attention to this important issue, and I urge all members of the House to support this legislation and vote in favour of Bill 88.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Mme Dawn Gallagher Murphy: I’d like to thank the member from Mississauga–Malton for bringing this important initiative forward. This is a step towards the prevention of gas-and-dash incidents that are (1) a theft and (2) can cause bodily harm and/or, in some actual cases, people’s lives.

Requiring prepayment before filling up at the pump by using existing payment technology would ensure a payment receipt prior to filling the tank. This is a common-sense measure to stop gas theft.

In my riding of Newmarket–Aurora, in the region of York, there was in fact a 66% jump in incidents in 2022, according to York Regional Police. This equated to a total of 2,133 incidents of gas-and-dash compared to 1,362 in 2021.

As my colleague has already noted, there are two jurisdictions in Canada who experienced a drastic reduction of gas-and-dash incidents once they mandated prepayment at the pump: BC and Alberta. Taking steps to stop gas theft first and foremost helps protect community safety.

We heard from my colleague specific incidents that are devastating for families and their communities. What is most disturbing is that these events could have been prevented.

Just this past December, while on a tour of a new police station in my riding, the chief of York Regional Police noted to me the challenges related to this type of theft. I’d like to quote the York Regional Police, who kindly provided me a quote today: “York Regional Police is encouraged that the province of Ontario is taking action on gasoline drive-offs, a crime that is 100% preventable. We support any measure that makes our community and our residents safer,” said York Regional Police chief Jim MacSween.

He continued: “Allocating already-scarce police resources to these incidents can have an impact on our ability to respond to more serious crimes, especially considering a significant number of these incidents result in civil action only, not criminal charges. We welcome the province’s measures aimed at making these thefts more difficult to carry out.”

So, as noted, York Regional Police is supportive of this.

I’d also like to note—my previous career, secure payments—we’ve actually had this payment technology in place since 2018, including contactless. So it’s not that much of an inconvenience to tap and get your tank filled.

Let’s support our police. Let’s support our communities. Let’s make our communities safer.

Speaker, I fully support this private member’s bill, and I urge all my colleagues in the chamber today to also support this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Ms. Goldie Ghamari: Madam Speaker, I am so pleased to speak on Bill 88, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide safety measures in respect of workers at gas stations. I would like to take a moment to thank the member from Mississauga–Malton for bringing this very important piece of legislation into the Ontario Legislature. This act will require customers to—before pumping it from a gasoline pump that has prepayment technology. This applies to gas stations in the city of Toronto and the regional municipalities of Durham, Halton, Peel, and York.

However, as a member from the city of Ottawa, representing the riding of Carleton, which I believe is the best riding in not just the province of Ontario but the country of Canada—and I will fight any of you and all of you on that, because I am blessed to represent the people of Carleton. This legislation 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, which means that even though Ottawa itself is not subject to this legislation, it has the opportunity and the ability to become a part of this legislation, if it so chooses.

That is very important, because throughout my riding of Carleton, gas stations have been struggling with gas-and-dash crimes—especially since the skyrocketing cost of fuel, starting in 2022. These aren’t the big corporations; they’re the small business owners that make sure rural eastern Ontario has local access to fuel. My team and I have spoken to gas stations throughout the riding, and gas stations in Richmond, North Gower, Osgoode, Greely, and many more have been increasingly struggling with gas-and-dash crimes. What’s even more troubling is that the perpetrators are rarely caught, as they can be on the road within seconds, never to be seen again. That’s a big problem in Ottawa, especially since we are very close to the border with Quebec. This both threatens the safety of workers in gas stations and hurts small, family-run gas stations in my riding.

That’s why I am so pleased to support this bill. It is a non-partisan, common-sense solution, and I hope that all members in this House will support it.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: It’s an honour to rise this afternoon in support of Bill 88, the Protecting Ontarians by Enhancing Gas Station Safety to Prevent Gas and Dash Act. I want to thank my friend from Mississauga–Malton for this important bill which will help save lives.

Speaker, as the member mentioned, Hashem Rad, a married father of two and a Petro-Canada employee at Southdown and Truscott in my riding of Mississauga–Lakeshore, was killed when he tried to stop a gas-and-dash thief. The man who hit and endangered him for just $75 in gas was on bail after a robbery in Toronto. He was arrested five months later but was released on bail again, and later raped a child, among other crimes. At one point, he was Peel’s most wanted.


Speaker, we know Canada’s bail system is broken and the federal government needs to fix this, but Hashem’s friends and family are right: If we had mandatory prepayment, he could still be alive today.

This is a growing problem. Gas theft was up 44% last year in Peel region. Even our chief, Chief Nish Duraiappah, said Peel officers have gone to 21,000 gas-and-dash drive-offs since he became chief, and many gas station employees have been victims of violence while trying to stop gas thefts.

I worked at a gas station when I was 17 years old with my friend Dave Pozzobon. I was not working that night Dave was bound—from a criminal at gunpoint. Luckily, he was not killed that night because of the theft that occurred at that the gas station. Dave went on to be a partner at Ontario Chrysler and Team Chrysler. I want to thank Dave for still being around with us and being a champion and a good friend of mine still today.

And I want to thank the member here for presenting this bill. This is a very important bill, and it will save lives moving forward. Congratulations on your bill. I hope that everybody will support this bill today.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Mr. Anthony Leardi: I want to congratulate the member from Mississauga–Malton on this very excellent bill. He has demonstrated a very effective presentation tonight and has demonstrated effective representation of his riding of Mississauga–Malton, and I congratulate him on that.

This bill that he’s presented is very practical. It’s cost-free, and it’s going to help people. It’s going to protect workers. It’s a good demonstration by the member of Mississauga–Malton that he is working for workers. I congratulate him, and I thank him.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): The member has two minutes to respond.

Mr. Deepak Anand: I’m pretty emotional right now, with all the support that I have received from my big extended family, the class of 2026. So thank you for doing that.

To the member on the other side from Sudbury, thank you for those words. I was kind of thinking maybe we should have co-sponsored it and included your suggestion right in. I hope and I guess we’ll have the opportunity to do the same thing during the committee time.

Madam Speaker, as I said earlier, this bill seeks to change the mindset of drivers to pay before filling up at the gas station, thus ensuring elimination of somebody driving off and reducing the possibility of injury to the bystander and themselves.

There is no additional cost to the gas station owners of having to upgrade pumps. There will be a grandfather clause for those manual gas stations without the prepayment facility so they don’t have to invest in a technological upgrade. So there’s no cost to the businesses, there’s no cost to the consumer and there’s no cost to the taxpayer.

The method of payment will remain the status quo. You can pay by credit card, you can pay by debit card or you can pay by cash. So there is no difference in the choices that you will have.

Madam Speaker, it is heartening not only for me but for the families of those who were lost through the gas thefts that there is support available in our province through our caucus.

All the colleagues that I have—thank you to the members from Markham–Unionville, Ajax, Newmarket–Aurora, Carleton and Mississauga–Lakeshore. Thank you for your support. And I want to say thank you to my media partners, I call them, and my colleagues. Thank you for amplifying the need for this bill. Thank you to you. Because of you, I got a lot of calls, a lot of emails. So I want to take a moment and thank you. Esma, Saurabh, Mathias, thank you for your support.

Madam Speaker, this is a bill to support and save lives. I hope that I’m going to get support from all of us to work together and save the lives of Ontarians.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): The time provided for private members’ public business has expired.

Mr. Anand has moved second reading of Bill 88, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide safety measures in respect of workers at gas stations. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Second reading agreed to.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): The member from Mississauga–Malton.

Mr. Deepak Anand: I just want to say thank you to all the members for this. And I would appreciate if it could be to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Is the majority in favour of this being referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy? Agreed? Agreed. The bill is referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

All matters relating to private members’ public business having been completed, this House stands adjourned until Monday, April 24, at 9 a.m.

The House adjourned at 1625.