Province releases details on new gas-and-dash legislation

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta's new Act to Protect Gas and Convenience Store Workers takes effect Friday. The province released more details about it Thursday morning.

New legislation is taking effect Friday that aims to protect gas station and convenience store workers.

On Thursday morning, Labour Minister Christina Gray laid out exactly what’s included in the new rules, which include requiring drivers to pay before filling up at gas stations and making violence-prevention plans mandatory at retail fuel and convenience stores.

If pay-at-the-pump technology is not available, retailers can implement other systems like requiring customers to deposit cash or a credit card with the cashier before fuelling up.

“The number of fuel thefts in our province would surprise people at how high it is and occasionally a worker is injured or killed either because a dash-and-gas is happening and they’re accidentally involved or because they maybe tried to chase someone,” Gray said.

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READ MORE: Labour Minister Christina Gray discusses Alberta’s new prepaid fuel legislation which takes effect Friday.

Alberta’s new prepaid fuel legislation
Alberta’s new prepaid fuel legislation

READ MORE: Alberta NDP to introduce bills on prepaid gas, gay-straight alliances and cannabis in fall sitting

Ki Yun Jo was one of the Albertans killed in such an incident. Jo died while trying to stop a gas-and-dash at his gas station in Thorsby, Alta., last October.

Last week, a 27-year-old Spruce Grove man was charged in Jo’s death.

Mitchell Robert Sydlowski was arrested on May 25 at the Edmonton Remand Centre.

READ MORE: Spruce Grove man charged in fatal Thorsby gas-and-dash

He was charged with second-degree murder, failing to remain at the scene of an accident causing death, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and theft under $5,000.

Police said the driver of the suspect vehicle did not pay for their gas after fuelling up and as they drove away, Jo tried to either stop the driver or gain their attention. Police said it was at that point Jo was struck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Making sure we’re protecting those workers and reducing the number of gas-and-dash incidents to help law enforcement is really important,” Gray said.

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READ MORE: Alberta NDP introducing prepaid fuel bill following gas-and-dash deaths

Edmonton police said incidents in the city are down 26 per cent this year compared to last. In 2017, police responded to 1,252 gas-and-dashes. So far in 2018, Edmonton police have dealt with 377 gas-and-dash incidents.

Police warn the number could climb because of the increase of the price of gas, but are hopeful the new legislation will help

“It’s very refreshing to see such a clear, logical and highly effective solution to a common crime, one that can easily be prevented and far too often has resulted in very tragic outcomes,” Edmonton Police Service deputy chief Brian Simpson said.

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The new rules will also require convenience stores to develop violence prevention plans, intended to minimize the risk of theft and robbery.

Employees will be required to have time lock safes that can’t be opened overnight, have minimal amounts of cash on hand, use video monitoring and limit overnight quantities of items that are commonly stolen such as tobacco and lottery tickets.

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