Action to bolster Alberta gas station worker safety this fall: labour minister

EDMONTON — Alberta’s labour minister says the province will take action this fall to protect service-station workers following the death of an employee in an apparent gas and dash.

The government has not yet decided if it will introduce a law to require motorists to pre-pay for gasoline or bring in some other measure, Labour Minister Christina Gray said Wednesday.

“It could be legislation; it could be regulation,” Gray said. “There are a few different things: mandatory pre-pay … actual pay at the pump … violence prevention programs. The decision of exactly what will be introduced and in what form has not yet been made.”

Gray said the government recently concluded a workplace safety review with gas stations and convenience stores and is sifting through what it heard.

A decision is expected in the coming weeks, she said.

Ki Yun Jo, 54, was killed Friday at the Fas Gas in Thorsby, Alta., southwest of Edmonton.

RCMP say Jo died when a driver of a stolen truck sped away from the gas station without paying.

In August, a man was sentenced to 11 years in prison for manslaughter for a gas and dash that killed Calgary gas-station worker Maryam Rashidi.

She was run over by Joshua Cody Mitchell when she tried to stop him from taking off without paying for $113 worth of fuel.

Alberta has been grappling for years with how to bolster the safety of gas-station employees, who often work alone.

Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, said there is no reason for more delay and announced his group’s new campaign called “Time for Pay Before You Pump” that urges the province to take action.

“Perhaps the most tragic part about these deaths is that they’re 100 per cent preventable,” McGowan said in a release.

“We know that pre-payment works. We know it saves lives. The only question that remains is what is the government waiting for?”

The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police passed a resolution in 2015 calling for pay-at-the-pump legislation.

The chiefs passed a similar resolution in 2011, but the former Progressive Conservative government did not accept it.

British Columbia has had a pre-pay law on the books since 2008.

Gray said Friday’s gas-and-dash death is fresh in her mind.

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