All Ontarians should be able to work and thrive in a secure environment without compromising their safety. As your MPP, this has always been my top priority. One rising trend that is posing a grave threat is the 100 per cent preventable crime of “gas-and-dash” thefts. In 2019 alone, there were 37,000 cases, skyrocketing from a mere 9,200 thefts in 2010. It is disturbing to know that in 2010, 29 per cent of surveyed gas station owners in Hamilton indicated that their employees had experienced an act of violence while trying to stop a gas theft. Employees should also not have to choose between their jobs and their safety.

We know there are many instances of employees chasing after cars to avoid docked pay — an unnecessary yet common practice in Ontario. Though they do not have to, vulnerable gas station workers often feel morally obligated to do so.

I am pleased to share the bill I have introduced that, once passed, will address issues of safety and security by making prepayment technology at gas stations a requirement. This bill is supported by diverse stakeholders, including the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, 7-Eleven Canada, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and Rabba Fine Foods.

The lives of innocent bystanders and police officers are also at risk. Any life at risk is one too many. This is especially true during COVID-19; prepayment at the pump can provide a convenient alternative to unnecessarily exposing one’s self to the virus inside the station.

When endorsing Bill 231, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police said the need for gas-and-dash legislation is very important “to protect public safety, especially (for) workers at gas stations across Ontario.”

In order for the bill to pass, the broader community’s support is required. I encourage all of you to reach out to your friends and families and ask them to contact their respective representatives and our office at to support Bill 231.

Together, we can make our communities safer, secure our workplace at gas stations and induce extra trust and confidence in our system.