Protest urges BC law to improve convenience store security at night

The goal is for the government to reinstate parts of Grant’s Law, to reduce the risks for night workers.

Activists are urging the BC government to require all-night convenience stores and gas stations to have at least two workers on all-night shifts.

The calls come despite businesses struggling to find enough staff and the province raising the minimum wage by more than seven percent, to $16.75 an hour from $15.65, effective today.

The British Columbia Federation of Labor (BCFED) is preparing to hold a sit-in on Saturday night (June 3) at a Circle K location on Commercial Drive to protest the British Columbia government in 2012 that relaxed parts of a 2008 law that required convenience stores. have two workers on night shift.

The protest at 2601 Commercial Drive is a continuation of what were annual sit-ins before the pandemic.

The British Columbia Liberal government of Gordon Campbell introduced what became known as Grant’s Law in 2008 in response to a 2005 incident in which motorist Darnell Pratt dragged 24-year-old gas station attendant Grant De to his death. Patie when Pratt fled an Esso station in Maple Ridge in a stolen car without paying approximately $12 for gas. De Patie tried to stop him.

The original Subsidy Law required all-night gas stations and convenience stores to have security barriers and to have at least two workers on shift all night, in addition to measures such as requiring customers to pay for gasoline in advance.

However, in 2012, the BC Liberal government of Christy Clark changed the law to require stores to have time-locked safes that cannot be opened overnight, signs to alert customers that the safes are not openable, video surveillance, good lighting and panic button. Workers would have to be at least 19 years old and have limited amounts of cash and lottery tickets on hand.

Customers still have to pay for gas upfront.

WorkSafeBC in 2012 recommended the changes to protect workers and allow businesses to be viable enough to continue operating.

“Many young workers know all too well what it’s like to work alone at night, facing the risk of violence,” said BCFED Youth Workers Committee Co-Chair George Finley. “Our government can do something about it right now by restoring Grant’s Law. . It’s the simplest measure they could take, but it would make work much safer for some of BC’s most vulnerable and lowest-paid workers.”

[email protected]