Legislation in Ontario aims to reduce gas station theft by enacting pay-before-you-pump
According to new legislation put forth by a backbencher of the Progressive Conservative party, paying for petrol before you pump could become required in some parts of Ontario.
According to the MPP who introduced the legislation this week, the bill’s goals include preventing so-called “gas and dash” thefts as well as lowering the danger of gas station personnel getting maimed or murdered.
MPP for Mississauga-Milton Deepak Anand stated, “My focus is on saving lives.” “I want to make sure that police resources are used more effectively,”
Gas theft has long been a widespread occurrence, but statistics from the police and the industry in Ontario show that last year’s jump in gas prices coincided with a new boom in thefts.
In 2022, service stations across the province are expected to lose $3.75 million due to fuel theft, a threefold increase from 2020, according to the Ontario Convenience Stores Association.
In 2022, gas and dash incidents increased by 66% over the previous year, according to York Regional Police, while gas thefts increased by 44%, according to Peel Regional Police. Anand claims that safety is his main concern with the bill. He brings up the murders of two gas station workers, Atifeh Rad and Jayesh Prajapati, who were both killed in gasoline theft instances just over a year apart, in Mississauga and Toronto, respectively.
The bill would mandate pre-payment at petrol stations in the Greater Toronto Area and give municipalities the authority to enact the law by resolution of council in any other part of the province.
Businesses in Ontario report an increase in pump-and-dash drivers as gas prices rise.
Anand said, “We are providing other cities the choice if they want to opt in, if they feel there is a problem (with gas thefts) and they want to fix this issue by prepayment. The mandatory pre-payment regulations would be implemented gradually, starting with only between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for the first year before becoming constant.
If the legislation is approved, Ontario will join two other provinces that have pay-before-pumping laws. Since 2008 in British Columbia and since 2018 in Alberta, it has been against the law. In just three years, Alberta saw five fatal gas-and-dash thefts, which prompted Rachel Notley’s then-NDP administration to enact the law.