The bill, if passed into law, would require customers at self serve gas stations to pay prior to filling up their vehicles. It comes less than a week after a Toronto gas station attendant was killed by a fleeing motorist.
Bill 124 was introduced in the Ontario legislature yesterday by Liberal MPP Mike Colle and passed first reading. If passed into law, it will make three changes to existing legislation.
The bill amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act to require all customers of self service gas stations to pay for gasoline prior to pumping it into their vehicles. The Employment Standards Act 2000 will also be amended to provide increased penalties to employers who penalize employees for fuel thefts that occur when they are working.
A third change will be an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act that will provide license suspensions for those persons who are convicted of theft that involves the stealing of fuel.
The proposed legislation, formally the Worker Safety and Service Station Act 2012, is also known as "Jayesh's Law." It is named after Jayesh Prajapati, 44, who was killed last Saturday while attempting to prevent a driver who did not pay from leaving the parking lot of the gas station where he worked.
As Digital Journal reported, Prajapati was struck by the car and dragged. He later died in hospital. Family members reported the attendant told them he was required to compensate his employer for the cost of any fuel stolen on his shift.
Colle, a member of the governing Liberal Party, was passing by the station shortly after Prajapati was struck. Colle, who often filled up at the Shell station and knew the attendant, vowed to introduce legislation to require pre-payment of gasoline.
Several members of Prajapati's family were present in the legislature when the bill was introduced. Vipa Prajapati, Jayesh's sister, was quoted by CBC as saying, "Jayesh was a hardworking family man who was so proud when he became a Canadian citizen and he loved Canada. I hope that there is some good that can come out of Jayesh's death."
And the victim's sister-in-law, Shaku Dalwadi, is quoted in the Toronto Sun as saying, "I know we lost Jayesh but we can save hundreds by this."
The Toronto Star reports the Ontario Ministry of Labour is investigating the service station to determine if the employer was requiring employees to pay for gasoline thefts.
Shortly after the gas attendant's death, Toronto Police Service began looking for Max Edwin Tutiven as a person of interest. Tutiven,39, was later named as a suspect and is now being sought on a charge of second-degree murder. Police believe he may have fled to Montreal.
Tutiven has a criminal record that includes convictions for car theft, theft of gasoline, possession of stolen car keys. and possession of stolen licence plates. In 2008, he was convicted of fail to remain at the scene of an accident and assaulting a police officer with a weapon, the weapon being a motor vehicle.
As they have from the outset, Toronto police are urging Tutiven to get a lawyer and turn himself in.