Jayesh Prajapati, 44, died Saturday night after he was hit by an SUV at the Shell station where he worked while trying to stop the driver.
Prajapati's family, including his 11-year-old son Rishabh looked on as Liberal MPP Mike Colle outlined his bill, introduced Thursday, that calls for a mandatory prepayment system at gas stations.
Notably absent was Prajapati's wife, who brother-in-law Hemant Kumar said is beside herself with grief.
"She's still in a state of mental shock. We have to feed her, force her to take meals," he said.
"She's crying the whole day and she's very worried about her future, her son's future, her mother-in-law's future."
The family has told the media that Prajapati's pay had been docked in the past for gas stolen on his watch — an illegal practice that violates the Employment Standards Act.
Shell Canada has said company rules forbid workers from intervening in gas-and-dash incidents, and employees are trained to watch for suspicious activity so they can help police in an investigation. The gas station's manager has also denied the family's claim.
The Ministry of Labour is conducting a workplace fatality investigation and one into the family's allegations about violations of employment standards.
Colle's bill also proposes increasing fines from $50,000 to $75,000 for individuals who break that law and fines for corporations increased from $100,000 to $200,000. It would also suspend the driver's licences of convicted gas thieves.
Colle said he hopes "Jayesh's Law" will pass so that something "positive" can come out of this tragedy.
"We are trying to let people know that perhaps out of this horrific death, there might be an opportunity to prevent future deaths of this kind," he told a news conference. "So out of an awful evil, might come some good."
The Liberal backbencher said similar legislation already exists in other provinces and in the U.S.
But it's not clear that the bill will even garner the support of Colle's own party. Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey said she hasn't yet made up her mind about it.
"I don't really want to speculate on whether that's the route that we're going to take," she said.
"From someone who's operating a gas station, their argument may be that the technology isn't in place and there may be a cost associated with it."
That cost, said the CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, is between $6,000 and $10,000 per pump.
Gas stations in the Greater Toronto Area and other cities already have the technology to ensure no gas is pumped until the customer prepays, said Dave Bryans. Many stations make everyone prepay after dark or sometimes through the day at locations right next to major highways, he said.
His concerns with the bill relate to rural Ontario convenience store owners with gas bars. The cost to upgrade the pumps would be prohibitively expensive for many, Bryans said.
"It isn't a one-bill-fits-all (situation)," he said.
"I wish I could stand with him and say it is. I'm the first guy to want to make sure everyone's safe, protected, well-trained...But I think we have to have a broader discussion instead of making quick decisions."
If someone is paying cash it might not be practical to have them walk in, pay $50, pump gas and find out they've used $40 and walk back in to get $10 back, Bryans said.
When asked about rural gas retailers Colle said he was open to considering different municipal options. But he suggested he wouldn't be swayed by arguments over convenience.
"I think it's well worth the inconvenience or the change to stop this horrendous practice that endangers people's lives," he said.
The family wholeheartedly supports the bill, said Prajapati's sister Vipa Prajapati.
"Jayesh was a hardworking family man who was so proud when he became a Canadian citizen and he loved Canada," she said. "I hope that there is some good that can come out of Jayesh's death."
A trust fund has also been set up for the victim's family at CIBC.
Police are urging Max Edwin Tutiven, 39, of Toronto, to turn himself in to face a charge of second-degree murder.Suggest a correction