Calls for strengthening Grant’s Law grow after Saanich hotel robbery


WATCH: Saanich police are still searching for the two men responsible for a brazen robbery of a Howard Johnson hotel earlier this month. They tied up the clerk who was working alone at the time. The father of a man who was killed alone while working at a Maple Ridge gas station in 2005, Doug De Patie, says if Grant’s Law was in place, the Saanich robbery may never have happened. Mary Griffin reports.

On May 2nd, Saanich Police released the video of two masked suspects walking into the Howard Johnson Hotel on Elk Lake Drive, surprising the hotel clerk on duty. The men jump the counter and drag the clerk into the back room.

Doug De Patie is the father of 24-year old Grant De Patie.  The gas station worker died in 2005 when he was dragged under a car for several kilometres after attempting to stop the theft of $12 of gas.

“All workers should be protected the same, whether they are hotel workers or not. Was it a late night worker working alone? Working alone regulations were brought in with Grant’s Law. Therefore he falls under the Grant’s Law,” De Patie said.

In 2008, Grant’s death led to provisions to protect late-night workers. But in 2012 changes watered down the law.  Former gas station attendant Spencer Lachmanec is calling for greater worker protection.

“If anything was stolen on my shift, for example, if they did not pay for gas. That I would, this is a few years ago, I would be personally be required to pay what was lost to the store,” Lachmanec said.

Now an organizer for the Retail Action Network, a volunteer organization representing retail workers, Lachmanec is part of lobbying efforts to restore the provisions in Grant’s Law lost seven years ago.

“We’re asking the NDP Government to bring in those safety protections that had previously been in Grant’s Law. And that were weakened due to big money pressure from certain corporations in B.C.,” Lachmanec said.

Now Grant’s father is calling on the Minister of Labour to reinstate Grant’s Law.

“I want him to stop watering down Grant’s Law and bring it in as it originally came out with; two people and or barriers,” De Patie said.

B.C.’s Labour Minister Harry Bains says he is aware of the risks that workers face alone at night. And he’s reviewing the current policies.

“I want to make sure that if changes are needed, then we’ll make those changes. But I’m watching, and review. Then I’ll make a decision accordingly,” Bains said.


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