The senseless 2012 killing of Toronto gas attendant Jayesh Prajapati has sparked an ongoing conversation among Ontarians on the issue of gas theft in the province. Local police and the Ontario Convenience Stores Association report that these cases have increased by 63 percent in the past year, with a total of 3,466 drive-offs. However, the question that continues to evoke my concern is how many more innocent lives have to be lost before we prioritize workers and bystander consumers safety.

While prepayment has already been mandated in Alberta, British Columbia and many states in the U.S., Ontario has yet to pass any similar legislation. During numerous conversations with local gas station owners I realized the intensity and impact of this issue on their employees and consumers. As MPP of this diverse and multicultural riding, I want to ensure that the safety and security of the community is a priority for this government, so that residents can continue to work and thrive in a safe environment.

My goal is to make prepayment technology at gas pumps a requirement so that customers can pay before pumping gas. Since this issue is a matter of life and death, convenience should not be an excuse as the long-term benefits for the community outweigh any costs.

Statistics show that there has been a loss of over $225,000 in a subsection of 10 percent of sites in just one year alone. This number has been increasing annually since 2012 as incidents have spiked from 411 then to 1,004 in 2018.

Community engagement is one of my core values and this involves having ongoing discussions with individuals at every level. I have met and will continue to meet with members of Peel Regional Police, local gas station owners, Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, Ontario Convenience Stores Association, Canada Safety Council and most importantly the constituents of Mississauga to gain full support on this mandate. Ontario’s Solicitor General has also been an avid advocate and supporter of this solution as she also believes we should ensure the protection of innocent people from crime. To contribute and share your experience or opinion on Gas and Dash, please contact our office.