An attack on convenience store clerk during an armed robbery in north Edmonton early Monday is renewing a call on the Alberta government to protect late night workers.
"Yet another attack on a Mac's store worker is just an indication of how urgent the need is and how we simply can't wait any longer for action to keep these workers safe," said Gil McGowan of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
Police are looking for three suspects after two masked men carrying guns entered the Mac's convenience store at 40th Street and Hermitage Road shortly after midnight. A third suspect, a female, was also involved.
The employee was seriously hurt and taken to hospital.
The suspects fled with cash and some store items.
The owner of the store, Paul Jaswal, told CBC News the store has been robbed a number of times since he's owned it.
He also said he expects his employee to make a full recovery from a head injury.
The violence comes less than two months after two Mac's clerks were killed in separate robberies.
Karanpal Bhangu, 35, and Ricky Cenabre, 41, were both working overnight shifts, alone, at separate Mac's convenience stores on Dec. 18 when masked gunmen walked in and shot them, leaving with what police say were small amounts of cash.
McGowan said the province must make safety legislation for night workers a priority.
"There is a new session of the legislature set to start in a few weeks and we're hoping that some legislation designed to improve the safety of these workers will be based in this session."
In a written statement to CBC Monday night, Minister of Labour Christina Gray, she is working "on options to collaborate with businesses and employees" to better protect workers.
"Ensuring workers come home safe at the end of the day is important for our government, and my heart goes out to the family and loved ones of the employees who have been injured or killed in these unfortunate recent events," she said.
Lorin Fadden, who has lived in the north-end area for a long time, said it's been a good place to live until a recent rash of violent crimes. He thinks the people who committed the armed robbery should face punishment.
"I think we need harsh penalties for (these criminals)," he said.
He added "something has to be done" to protect convenience store clerks from this kind of attack. Clerks armed with pepper spray might be an option, he said.
Another option is putting clerks behind protective glass, a move that Marilyn Mclean-Bourgeois fully supports.
Mclean-Bourgeois, who works near the Mac's store, says protective glass is a good idea, but she stresses that "certainly, peoples' lives come first."
"Working alone is hazardous, and I think having an extra staff person could help, but I think again additional security measures, maybe in terms of limiting contact, would be something to think about."