Changes to British Columbia’s recent regulations protection night workers have been met with controversy by some who believe the amendments have hollowed out what has become known as “Grant’s Law.”
After gas station employee Grant DePatie was killed by a drunk driver when he tried to stop him from fleeing without paying for gas, the B.C. government answered compaigns from unions and the B.C. Federation of Labour to introduce protection for latenight workers. In 2007, the government announced regulations that stipulated customers must pre-pay for gas at all times of the day. This became known as Grant’s Law and was accompanied by other safeguards suggested by public hearings held by WorkSafeBC. The safeguards included regulations for barriers between employees who work alone at night and customers.
The regulations were originally intended to be in force in 2009, but they have been delayed another year until 2010. WorkSafeBC also reduced the hours originally defined as night work from 10 p.m until 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until 6 a.m., after B.C.’s liquor store owners, who have stores open until 11 p.m., said it was unfair to have them subject to the regulations because of one hour a night. WorkSafeBC plans to have public hearings on the change in hours in spring 2009 and a directive was issued to temporarily implement the change until June 2009 or the proposed amendment comes into force, whichever comes first.
WorkSafeBC’s committee to design the barriers was composed of retail merchant representatives but no labour representatives because, WorkSafeBC told online magazine The Tyee, employers were responsible for implementing the changes.
WorkSafeBC denied the changes had anything to do with Grant’s Law, telling The Tyree the provision of barriers was not part of the gas pre-payment regulation and part of the normal process of developing regulations after getting feeback from stakeholders.
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