British Columbia

Pay-before-you-pump comes into effect at B.C. gas stations

Starting Friday, motorists putting gas in their cars or trucks in B.C. will have to pay for it before they pump it, no matter what time of day.

Starting Friday, motorists putting gas in their cars or trucks in B.C. will have to pay for it before they pump it, no matter what time of day.

The new provincewide regulation is a first in Canada and has become known as Grant's Law — named after a young Maple Ridge gas station attendant who was killed trying to prevent a robbery three years ago.

At one Vancouver gas station, customer Ken Lee told CBC News the new regulations make buying gas more inconvenient, especially if motorists don't use a credit card.

"You have to go inside and prepay. And once you prepay the amount and fill up the gas, and you find out you didn't use all the money you prepaid, you have to go back inside and get your money back," he said.

But behind the counter, operator Shafiq Islam told CBC News on Thursday that he is looking forward to the new regulations.

Last year, he lost several thousand dollars from gas theft, and a prepay rule that applies 24 hours a day to every station is long overdue, he said.

"People are getting killed. People get robbed. People get beaten, so this is the best thing they're doing now," said Islam.

Parents of victim want law adopted nationally

The parents of the young man whose death sparked the change say they agree that any inconvenience is a small price to pay. They want the new law adopted across the country.

In 2005, Corinne and Doug De Patie's son Grant died after being dragged seven kilometres underneath a car after he was run over by a driver who stole $12 worth of gas.

After his son's death, Doug De Patie spent the next three years lobbying anyone who would listen for the new regulation, which the provincial government eventually passed into law.

"Quite simply, if we don't have any more gas and dashes, we won't have any more deaths from it," De Patie told CBC News on Thursday.

While Grant's Law goes into effect on Friday, gas station owners will have a month to fully comply with the new regulations before receiving warnings and eventually fines from WorkSafeBC.

Service at some stations may be a little slower as attendants juggle more cash, credit and debit cards, according to Scott McCloy, a spokesman for WorkSafeBC, but the change is worth it.

"Nobody said investing in safety was for free," said McCloy.

As well as prepayment for gas, all attendants working alone after 10 p.m. PT must stay behind a locked barrier.