Grant’s Law stripped down

Rules that were lobbied for by Grant De Patie's family have changed for gas stations, convenience stores

Doug De Patie

Doug De Patie

Rules meant to protect people working at night in British Columbia have been changed to allow gas station and convenience store clerks to work alone.

WorkSafeBC announced amendments to Grant’s Law on Thursday, finding it wasn’t “practicable,” or feasible, for retailers to hire additional workers or erect protective barriers.

Instead of having two people on shift, convenience stores can follow other safety procedures, including time-lock safes that can’t be opened during late night hours, video surveillance, as well as keeping limited amounts of cash and lottery tickets at hand.

In addition, employers will be required to do regular security audits by a qualified and independent person to confirm that all the controls have been implemented.

“Our priority continues to be protecting late night retail workers from acts of violence,” said Roberta Ellis, senior vice-president of corporate affairs for WorkSafeBC, in a press release announcing the amendment.

The change has outraged the family of Grant De Patie, which fought hard to implement Grant’s Law after he was killed in 2005.

The law made British Columbia the first province in Canada to make drivers pay before they pump gas, and included provisions to add two workers or barriers for those who work retail graveyard shifts – an integral part of the legislation.

“It is a portion of Grant’s Law that we fought for. It addressed the underlying causes of what led to Grant’s death,” said his father, Doug.

Grant De Patie, 24, was working alone when he was killed in 2005 while trying to prevent a gas-and-dash robbery at an Esso station in Maple Ridge.

“It is sad that WorkSafeBC is kowtowing to the employers, especially the few that came forward,” Doug De Patie added.

“Let’s face it, when Grant was killed, a lot of things were said and done. Grant now and back then was collateral damage for employers. He was a casualty of big business. I guess that’s the way the work place is, our family members are traded off.”

The B.C. Federation of Labour also criticized the changes.

“It is extremely disappointing to see WorkSafeBC sacrifice evidence-based safety regulations after a lobby based only on the profit motive of late night employers,” said president Jim Sinclair. “This is a huge setback for some of the most vulnerable and lowest-paid workers in the province.”

But the Western Convenience Store Association, which lobbied for the change, believes money can now be saved and, in turn, spent on better security.

“It sets a standard for late-night retailers and provides them with an opportunity for them to have someone do a security audit at their store to ensure it has a good, safe environment for their customers and employees to enjoy,” said Western Canadian Convenience Store Association chair Len McGeouch.

McGeouch noted that experts have found that having more than one person on staff doesn’t stop criminals from committing robbery.

“If there is a predisposition to committing a criminal act, Having one, two or three people won’t stop a person from doing it,” he added.

For Jessica Tyler, who works at a Shell gas station in Maple Ridge, which has barriers and magnetic locks on its door, the changes don’t make sense.

She feels much safer behind a barrier, especially on shifts that begin at 6 a.m.

“In the morning, I find it scary. Too many people come in and just look suspicious. I keep everything shut until 7 or 7:30 in the morning,” said Tyler, 22, who is a young mother.

If the gas station didn’t have a barrier, Taylor would want another staff person to work with.

“I wouldn’t work by myself, most definitely not.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Snowfall warnings Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 for parts of the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon. (Jennifer Feinberg/The Chilliwack Progress)
Winter storm warnings Thursday for Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon

Snow is expected to become heavier as day progresses with snowfall amounts of up to 30 centimetres

Annemieke Vrijmoed sent in this photo that for her captures the magic of the Fraser River.
SHARE: The magic of the Fraser River

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Members of Katzie First Nation got into the spirit of Pink Shirt Day with honking, car decoration, and drumming. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)
Katzie First Nation recognizes Pink Shirt Day with ‘honking’ parade

Community rallies together to promote anti-bullying message

COVID-19 (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposures at schools in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Alexander Robinson and Edit McDermott are latest elementary schools exposed

City council reviewed the Growing Together report, and its vision for downtown Maple Ridge.
Pocket parks, walkability, safety are highlights of Maple Ridge downtown vision

Homelessness and crime could undermine vision for city says Robson

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read