Law protecting gas attendants should be national: minister

B.C. labour minister advocates 'pay-before-you-pump' regulation

British Columbia's labour minister wants to see a new law protecting gas station workers gain national acceptance.

Grant's Law, under development in B.C., would require motorists in urban areas of the province to pay before they pump gas between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The law is named after 24-year-old service station attendant Grant DePatie, who was dragged to his death while trying to prevent a gas-and-dash robbery two years ago.

At a meeting of federal, provincial and territorial labour ministers last week, B.C. Minister of Labour Olga Ilich encouraged her colleagues to adopt laws similar to Grant's Law.

“This is something I would like to see all provinces consider along with more and better safety training for young workers,” said Ilich in a statement. “Grant’s Law will help to protect gas station workers and give them a sense of security.”

The threat to young workers is countrywide. Last year, 17-year-old Brigitte Serre was found stabbed to death at the gas station where she was working overnight in Montreal.

Several states in the United States have similar "pay-before-you-pump" laws, but none exist in Canada.

Public hearings, during which there was no opposition to the law, have been completed and Grant's Law could be in place in B.C. as early as this spring.

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