11/03/2012 02:08 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Saskatchewan will protect convenience store employees who work alone

REGINA - The Saskatchewan government is changing labour rules in an effort to better protect late-night retail workers from violence.

Labour Minister Don Morgan told the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour convention in Regina that new regulations include a check-in system and personal emergency transmitters for all employees working alone in late-night retail establishments.

The new regulations also include requirements for safe cash handling procedures and video cameras for businesses that are open late.

While the changes fall short of the Opposition NDP's call for the province to make employers schedule at least two employees per shift at night, the party's labour critic says they're still welcome.

"Working the night shift at a gas station or convenience store comes with increased risk. When I visited workers on the night shift, what I heard is that they felt anxious. They know about those sad cases where an employee has become a victim," David Forbes said in a news release Saturday.

The changes follow the death of Jimmy Wiebe, a gas station clerk who was shot and killed during a robbery at a gas station in Yorkton, near the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border, in June 2011.

Friends and family of Wiebe signed a legislative petition earlier this year that called for the government to pass Jimmy's Law, a private member's bill to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to require at least two workers on late-night shifts or ensure that a worker was behind locked doors or a barrier when alone.

They also called for more measures to protect workers including panic buttons, better lighting, barriers and security cameras.

The two-employee requirement was not part of the changes Morgan announced Saturday.

Earlier this year, Morgan said British Columbia looked at having two workers present at all times, but backed away from the idea because he said it was too expensive and didn't necessarily improve safety.

Forbes, who had promoted Jimmy's Law with a provincial tour of late-night businesses, expressed satisfaction Saturday that some of its contents will be adopted in the new regulations.

"New Democrats feel strongly that victims like Jimmy Wiebe deserved better protection, and all steps to increase security and workplace safety are welcome," Forbes said in the news release.

Forbes added that enforcement of the new regulations will be critical, noting that the labour department released a study earlier this year that found many employers weren't following existing safety regulations.

Wiebe's murder was captured on video cameras — something that helped police find his killer.

Kyle Braeden Furness pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison in December 2011.