Honourable Christina Gray
Minister of Labour and Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal
Last year’s gas-and-dash fatality in Thorsby reminded us all that gas theft is a serious danger in both urban and rural settings. As Albertans, our hearts break when we see incidents of preventable workplace violence. This is why your government took action to improve the safety of Alberta’s gas stations and convenience stores across the province.
On June 1 new rules came into effect to protect our gas and convenience store workers. Albertans are now required to prepay for fuel. These changes are important and were long overdue. We have all felt the impact of these tragedies, none more than the friends and families of the victims. No Albertan should have to worry that their loved one, friend, neighbour or colleague won’t make it home at the end of their shift because of workplace injury.
Prepaying might take a few extra minutes in some cases, but it could save the life of someone in your community. This is a small sacrifice and we know it is an effective way to reduce risk. We know this because when British Columbia mandated prepayment for fuel in 2008, gas-and-dash related injury and death was virtually eliminated. This is exactly what Albertans deserve, the confidence in knowing that all of our gas and convenience store workers will be protected.
The new measures will also save Alberta’s law enforcement agencies countless hours related to responding to gas-and-dash incidents. The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police stood with me to announce these changes. They said that this legislation will free up police resources currently spent on gas thefts, resources that can now focus on other crimes. This is an important consideration for community safety, particularly so in rural communities.
These new rules are in place to protect workers and owners, not to put unnecessary burdens and expenses onto small businesses. Retailers need to know that they are not required to upgrade their pumps with new technology. There are multiple options available at little to no cost, including having customers pay the attendant before fueling or preauthorizing credit cards. We are committed to continuing to work with business owners and operators to ensure the rules are implemented effectively.
We have many resources available to help Albertans and employers learn more about the new rules. These can be found online at Alberta.ca.
In addition to mandatory prepayment for fuel, convenience stores will also develop violence prevention plans to increase the safety of workers. This will include time lock safes, video monitoring, emergency transmitters for lone workers, and limited overnight quantities of cash, tobacco and lottery tickets.
These changes are the result of rigorous consultation with employers, workers, labour groups, industry groups, safety associations and other stakeholders. With the input and feedback we received, we were able to make sure that the legislation we put in place increases workers safety and is also reasonable for employers and business owners.
I am proud of the changes we’ve made to ensure that gas station and convenience workers across our province return home from work safe. I want to thank all Albertans who are doing their part to ensure these new rules are implemented.