Alberta Government Introduces Bill 6: The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act

The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act was introduced today to the Alberta Legislature.

“Everyone deserves a safe, fair and healthy workplace. With this bill, workplace legislation will now extend to farms and ranches,” said Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour, Lori Sigurdson. “The rules we implement must respect the unique qualities of the farm and ranch industry, and I look forward to working with industry members to develop rules that make sense.”

According to the government release, if the bill is approved, changes will include:

  • Ensuring farms and ranches are subject to Occupational Health and Safety legislation to prevent farm and ranch incidents that can result in injury or death (beginning January 1, 2016).
  • Providing Workers’ Compensation Board insurance coverage so that workers can continue to support their families if they are injured on the job, and protecting farm and ranch owners against the impact of workplace injuries and illness (mandatory as of January 1, 2016).
  • Including farm and ranches in Employment Standards and Labour Relations legislation (coming into effect in the spring of 2016, after potential exemption consultations).
Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

“We know Alberta’s farmers and ranchers are concerned about providing safe and fair workplaces,” said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Oneil Carlier, “and I look forward to our discussions with them as we work out the details on the best way to do it.”

The Alberta Federation of Agriculture responded to the announcement saying such changes will require significant collaboration and adaptation.

“Our position is that WCB is a valuable risk management tool that provides protection over and above anything else currently available for farm workers and farm owners,” said AFA President Lynn Jacobson in a release. “On the OHS side, we need to understand the implications of new technical requirements to which farmers will be subject. The relationship between WCB, OHS and farm safety also needs study. We’d like to see a gradual implementation of the OHS changes, supported by extensive producer education and awareness.”

Town hall meetings will be held this fall, to allow Albertans the opportunity to propose changes or ask questions (register online). An online survey will be available shortly, and any questions/comments can be submitted to [email protected].

 

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11 Comments

Ruth Wagner

Madam Premier. Please listen to the real farmers and cattlemen about this Bill 6. It is going to put the average farmer in the poverty hole. We can’t afford to hire employees as it already is. Then pay WCB and all the other things you want to charge us with. Not to mention this carbon tax.. Big corporate farms operate on a different scale than the family farmer & rancher. Look at the income tax returns,you will see. Ask your residents of this province first before making big changes to our lives. Thank you for your time. God help you in this decision.

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Ken Loren

The feedback I hear from numerous farmers and ranchers regarding Bill 6 is very disturbing and alarming to me. Having not read Bill 6 myself, I can only comment on the general items of concern relayed to me by these people.

Firstly, unlike the majority of our urban dwellers, our workplace is also our home. We just happen to have bigger back yards than our urban counterparts. It is our constitutional right to enjoy the privacy and sanctity of our home and property. If Government OHS and WCB agents are allowed to visit and/or investigate our home and property without notice or an invitation, we should be allowed the same accordance to enter Ms. Notley’s and/or her agents’ homes without invitation, notice, and/or consequence, as well.

We all strive to keep our workplace, and surroundings, as reasonably safe as possible. The very few agricultural entities who hire employees do not expect their employees to work unsafely, if it can be avoided. The nature of our industry is so diversified that certain aspects of our work naturally have inherent risk. We deal with animals (that have minds of their own), equipment (some large and sophisticated and some small and basic), terrain (that is not always user friendly), and Mother Nature (who can pound us without notice). People who work in agriculture do so by their own choice. The overall profitability of most farms and ranches is usually meager. The majority of people in agriculture do it because it is a way of life they choose for them and their families. It is an industry society of people who work individually, and together, all at the same time. They help each other at the “drop of a hat” and, most of the time, expect no remuneration for that help.

We do not need any Bill or Govenmental body interfering in our private, family, and operational affairs. We have survived for centuries as an indpendent and integral part of human society. Without farmers and ranchers, the world would starve and perish in short order. All of the people I talk to in agricuture don’t feel there is anything broken in the normal way we conduct our daily operations. Why Ms. Notley is trying to jam a ridiculous Bill 6 down our throats is beyond comprehension. She says that Bill 6 would offer the “change” that farmers have wanted for years. Strangely, I haven’t talked to one farmer in favor of Bill 6. If you were to take a vote from all Alberta farmers today, Bill 6 would be defeated and abolished immediately. I thought we lived in a democratic society where majority rules. If Bill 6 passes, democracy is a joke and Ms. Notley is our new Dictator. The only thing Bill 6 would accomplish is becoming another form of tax to help sweeten the coffers of the Government by several millions of dollars. The way Notley’s government is spending, they are looking for every avenue to increase government revenue. This time it is on the backs of Alberta ranchers and farmers. They have already done it to the petroleum industry with their carbon tax.

DO NOT PASS BILL 6 !! WE, THE FARMERS AND RANCHERS OF ALBERTA DO NOT WANT IT AND DO NOT NEED IT !! NOTHING IS BROKEN SO IT DOESN’T NEED FIXING !!!

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Amy

Where can I find all the information that is in bill 6. The complete do’s and don’ts in this bill

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Trevor Bertholet

The bill is quite confusing because you can’t just read it and understand whats being changed.
The bill refers to 3 different alberta acts, and once you go to the act and see whats being amended, it becomes a little clearer.
What i did was print bill 6 out then bring up the acts on google and then find the section that the bill is amending.
What i got from this is if farmers hire help they will have to follow all the rules that every other business in the province has to follow.
If you are not paying wages (farm kids) the acts don’t apply.
Just like any other business, if you pay under the table you won’t follow the acts but run the risk of law suits if someone gets hurt, or the government going after the employee for taxes and such.
In conclusion the government needs to explain the bill way better in laymens terms so people can get a true understanding of what is happening.
Also remember, bike helmets, smoking in public places, kids car seats, all were acceptable at one time, but are not now.

Trevor Bertholet

Wayne Lyman

This bill is not nessary, very costly to the family farm operation .
Please do not pass this bill.

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John Elias

I’m not a Farmer, but was employed by a Farmer until the end of August of 2015 in Southern AB, (left for Church reasons) and I dare say about 70% of the work force in Southern AB would be against BILL 6, now whoever is pushing this Bill so hard, I’m not sure, but have they thought of asking the work force for their opinion about BILL 6? or is it maybe not about the workers and more about easy money in someones pocket?

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