Alberta’s crop commissions have joined forces in urging the provincial government to delay the implementation of its new farm safety and labour legislation to further consult with farmers.
“The current government process is causing fear and uncertainty to grasp the industry. Farmers can provide good input and are the subject matter experts on what will be most effective for their farm,” said Allison Ammeter, chair of Alberta Pulse Growers, in a joint statement issued Monday. “Commissions have sent letters and have met with Ministers to bring forward concerns and we continue to meet with them and we encourage producers to also have their voice heard.”
Farmers held protests against Bill 6 — the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act — at the Alberta Legislature on Friday and again on Monday. The crop commissions are strongly encouraging members to engage the government by attending the scheduled town hall meetings.
“The commissions have consistently delivered a message of education before legislation,” noted Kent Erickson, Alberta Wheat Commission chair. “We believe that with more information and training available, we can all work towards a safer on-farm environment.”
“We take the safety of our workers, our families and ourselves very seriously. That is why we are asking for due diligence regarding Bill 6 and how it affects our farms,” explained Alberta Canola Producers Commission chairman Lee Markert.
The commissions say they were assured stakeholder consultations would be ongoing and that there would be an opportunity to contribute to the policy discussion in previous meetings with the Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour.
“In September, the four crop commissions issued a news release stating we were ready and willing to contribute to the discussion,” noted Mike Ammeter, Alberta Barley chair, in the same news release. “We were ready to provide input before the specifics of Bill 6 were announced to ensure farmers’ best interests were being represented, unfortunately that process was never initiated.”
The grower groups encourage farmers to send their questions and feedback about Bill 6 to the government email address: [email protected]
A full list of town hall meetings can be found here.