The Ontario government is looking into possible legislation to improve the safety of gas station workers after a Toronto gas station attendant was killed on Sept. 15 trying to stop a customer from fleeing without paying for gas. The worker was struck by the fleeing vehicle.
Premier Dalton McGuinty told reporters the government will take a "long, hard look at what lessons we might draw from this," a report from The Toronto Star said.
A man filled up his SUV at a Shell station in Toronto when he allegedly attempted to leave the station without paying for the gas, police said. According to reports, the customer put $112 in gas in his car before taking off.
The 44-year-old man working at the gas station, whose identity has not been released, was struck by the vehicle as he attempted to stop it from leaving. The man suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported to hospital, where he died.
Toronto police are now looking to question a person of interest in the incident.
The Ministry of Labour is also investigating the incident.
“Shell is saddened by this senseless loss of life at one of our retail sites,” the company said in a statement. “Shell's top priority is the safety of staff and customers, and under no circumstance are sales associates or any other retail employee to intervene during criminal activity.”
Sales associates are taught to observe suspicious activity to assist police, the statement also said.
This isn’t the first incident in Ontario. Last May, 62-year-old Hashem Atifeh Rad was hit and dragged by a vehicle at a Mississauga, Ont., gas station after he tried to stop a driver for not paying. Five months later, a 22-year-old man was arrested and charged with criminal negligence causing death, fleeing the scene of a fatal accident, theft under $5,000 and breach of recognizance.
In 2008, British Columbia adopted a “pay-before-you-pump” regulation. The law, formally called Grant’s Law, was named after Grant De Patie, a gas attendant in Maple Ridge, B.C., who was dragged to his death after attempting to stop a driver from stealing $12 worth of gas in 2005.
Ontario’s police chief association was considering a resolution to urge the provincial government to implement mandatory pre-payment at gas pumps last June. It was ultimately sidelined because the organization said the issue should be handled by government and industry.
Mike Colle, a Liberal MPP who serves the riding and who happened on the scene shortly after the worker was killed, told the Toronto Star he is going to research other jurisdictions in North America to see “if there’s somebody who’s found a way to deal with this gas-and-dash.”
With files from The Canadian Press