'Gas-And-Dash' Bill Gets Mixed Reaction In Ontario

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A new bill aimed at cracking down on so-called
A new bill aimed at cracking down on so-called "gas-and-dash" thefts is getting mixed reaction from the opposition parties. (CP)

TORONTO - A new bill aimed at cracking down on so-called "gas-and-dash" thefts is getting mixed reaction from the opposition parties.

Part of the proposal includes requiring drivers to pay before they gas up and the two opposition parties aren't too keen on it.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says he supports stiffer penalties for gas thieves, but opposes the pre-payment system.

He says it should be up to gas station owners to decide that, not the government.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she also has concerns about pre-payments because she wants consumers to have a choice in how they pay for gas.

The private member's bill brought in by Liberal backbencher Mike Colle needs the support of at least two parties to even have a shot at becoming law.

He introduced the bill after a Toronto gas station attendant was killed when he tried to stop a man from driving away without paying his $112.85 bill.

But private member's bills rarely become law unless they have the support of the government.

Colle's bill calls for suspending the licences of drivers convicted of gas thefts and fines for employers who force attendants to pay for the stolen gas out of their wages — a practice he called a "dirty little secret."

Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi says employment standards already prohibit the deduction of wages.

He says the government is looking at 275 gas stations across the province to make sure the rules aren't being broken. Naqvi's office says four orders have been issued requiring owners to comply with regulations.

Naaqvi says he's still looking at Colle's bill, but wouldn't say whether the government will throw its weight behind it.

Note to readers: An earlier version quoted Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi as saying four charges were laid, but his office says he misspoke and in fact four compliance orders have been issued.

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