Last week, the Alberta government announced the introduction of Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranchers Workers Act.  Farmers have engaged in a hefty amount of debate on the new legislation.  As the Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour states in the interview below, “this is a complex bill.”

Read: Farm Safety Tradition is a Loaded Gun

Whether it is mandatory WCB or implementation of OH&S or the new restrictions on children operating equipment, farmers and ranchers are making sure their opinions are heard.  Social media has been alive the past week with #bill6 commentary. The Alberta government planned town halls started Thursday in Grand Prairie and emotions and passion were running very high.

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Shaun Haney was able to interview the Alberta Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour, Lori Sigurdson about Bill 6 and what the NDP governments intentions are with the bill.  Minister Sigurdson stepped out of question period to grant RealAgriculture the interview which we greatly appreciate.  We attempted to ask as many of the questions as we could that our readers submitted via twitter.  We hope that we can have her back for another interview to ask more of your questions soon.  Lets keep the discussion going and make sure we understand the legislation as we provide feedback.

Clearly there is a lot of work still to be done. We encourage the RealAgriculture community to attend the town halls, call your MLA and complete the government survey to ensure agriculture participates in the discussion. Please remember to be respectful and provide constructive feedback to ensure our industry adds to the discussion to shape the regulations on Bill 6 going forward.

6 thoughts on “Alberta Labour Minister’s Perspective on Bill 6 – Hon. Lori Sigurdson

  1. Thank you Shaun for hosting this interview, it was time to hear froma actual member of the government. Alas, the NDP smoke and mirror show begins.

    It begs consideration; did the NDP not anticipate the immediate resistance from the Agriculture community? Were family operations expected to open their arms to the unforgiving mandates set forth by unionized desk jockeys who have lost all connection to family operations? Are there no members of the sitting government that understand the precarious balance of debt that any farm/ranch operation endures while providing for the world around them?

    Although the mandatory WCB requirements will financially setback small operations upfront, even Sigurdson alluded that it’s only the first wave. Gaining access your yard post-incident is only the first action to be implemented; regular audits, inspections, and fines are just awaiting their turn to come into effect.

    The mandatory, rushed and inconsiderate approach taken through these legislation changes is best defined as absolute hokum. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ they single-handedly bankrupt, ruin & destroy family farms and small enterprises, it’s whether they can do it all before the next election.

    1. What makes you so special? I have operated a business for more than 11 years in which all my employees are protected under legislation to protect their health and safety. I have to adhere to these standards so why do you feel you need a break? I have heard countless stories of abuse of workplace health standards on “family farms”. These are just standards and is a way to protect “Abertans” from workplace abuse. It won’t finish the family farm…..that’s nonsense.

  2. So what I’m hearing is ” line up agriculture and open your mouth. We are going to cram some legislation down, but we don’t really know or want to tell you what or how big it is. But don’t worry, we won’t shove down the biggest part till next year”. What is the driving force behind this? Is it for large feedlots or greenhouses that hire most of their workers? Who are the people asking for help from the government in the form of legislation?
    I can’t say I’ve ever heard a more ridiculous description of a plan of action. We are going to pass legislation. We don’t know yet (or at least aren’t about to tell you) what it looks like, who it affects, or how it will affect them. But don’t worry…you won’t have to swallow all of it for nearly a year.
    There may need to be discussions on how to make farms safer, or on proper ways to treat/deal with hired workers. But this whole fiasco just smacks of a union foothold, and with what we know of the NDP, that’s seems to me the most plausible reason for it’s existence

    1. “We are going to pass legislation. We don’t know yet (or at least aren’t about to tell you) what it looks like, who it affects, or how it will affect them. But don’t worry…you won’t have to swallow all of it for nearly a year.”

      Yup, definitely sounds like Ontario’s provincial government as they got ready to save the bees…

  3. So The NDP is saying that the RCMP can’t handle the investigation in the case of a serious injury or fatality? Or is it just that they feel they can levy fines and profit from a tradgdy? Good job not representing the people, when did we lose democracy where a few government employees supposedly representing us, dictate to the mass? Put it to a vote, let farmers, ranchers,workers, all sectors vote. Can’t have that can we, choosing for ourselves, we must all surly be told. Where’s all the data to base this new bill? Where’s the mass of angry farm, ranch workers fed up with the horrible working conditions in Alberta? Insert cricket noise here. Get lost NDP, you are the lowest form of government trying to leach the last bit of blood from a already beleaguered industry that doesn’t want to hold hands with you. You are not supporting us, subsidizing us, or helping, let alone representing. Where’s the tax dollars put back into R&D, the provincial share of the farm fuel benefit? Do your worst, you will be gone in the next election and we albertans will spend the next decade fixing your mess.

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