A Private Member’s Bill, 124, An Act to amend various statutes with respect to worker safety at service stations was introduced on September 20, 2012, seeking to protect gas station attendant’s safety and their income.
- The Bill would amend, the Occupational Health and Safety Act to require employers who engage in the business of selling fuel at service stations and other places selling fuel at retail to require customers to provide payment by credit card, debit card, cash or other method of payment before the customer is given fuel from a pump. The Act would also be amended to require employers to provide training to employees about worker safety in accordance with the prescribed requirements to employees involved in the sale of fuel from a pump at a service station or other place that sells fuel at retail
- The Bill would also seek to change the Employment Standards Act to prohibit employers from penalizing employees if a fuel theft occurs while the employees are working at the service station or other place that sells fuel at retail. For greater certainty, penalizing an employee includes withholding or deducting wages, reducing hours of work, and denying entitlement to overtime pay, benefits, vacation or any other entitlement under this Act
- A person who contravenes this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable, a) if the person is an individual, to a fine of not more than $75,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 12 months or to both; and b) if the person is a corporation, to a fine of not more than $200,000
- The Highway Traffic Act to provide that a person’s driver’s licence is suspended if the person is convicted for an offence involving the theft of fuel
This Bill has been created in response to the tragic death of gas station attendant Jayesh Prajapati, whom police say died trying to stop a vehicle from leaving the gas station without paying for fuel.
If enacted, the Bill will come into force on Royal Assent, except for section 4 of the Bill which pertains to amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Section 4 would then come into force six months after the day the new Act receives Royal Assent.
Notwithstanding this Bill, it is important for employers to remember that under the Employment Standards Act employers cannot require that an employee pay for any portion of an employer’s business cost. This includes expenses arising from theft, damage, breakage, poor quality of work, damage to employer property or failure to pay by a customer. Some instances where these issues arise include “gas and dash,” “dine and dash,” shoplifting, and accidents involving employer vehicles or equipment.
Specifically, employers are prohibited from directly or indirectly deducting amounts from employees or requiring employees to return all or part of their pay unless authorized.
If a worker is assigned to work alone, and/or there is any risk of harm or violence, the employer should take the necessary measures and implement the necessary procedures to protect the health and safety of the worker. Employees should not be permitted or encouraged to expose themselves to these sorts of risks.
First Reference Inc. Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor