The Alberta government passed its new farm labour legislation last week. Bill 6 is supposed to make Workers’ Compensation Board insurance coverage mandatory for farm workers while bringing Occupational Health and Safety and labour standards to farms.
Amendments made to the bill clarified that it only applies to farms with at least one paid worker.
Since the regulations and technical codes supporting the bill have yet to be written, there’s been plenty of frustration and confusion caused by an absence of concrete information about how the legislation will affect farms. The government says it will consult with the industry in developing these employment and labour relations standards over the next 12 to 18 months.
In trying to understand the context of Bill 6 we examined the policies that are already in place in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. In most cases, these provinces adopted their farm workplace policies in stages over several decades, rather than a simultaneous change to WCB, OHS and labour relations rules. It’s also difficult to assess how strictly each province enforces its policies.
This is meant for information purposes only. Sources are listed below.
- Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties Environmental Scan of Farm Safety Legislation
- Alberta Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour website
- Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board
- Bill 6 — Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act
- MB Workplace Safety and Health Act
- SafeWork Manitoba FAQ Farm Questions
- Saskatchewan Farm Safety Guide (download)
- Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board
- Interviews/email exchanges with Alberta Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier, as well as representatives from Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, SafeWork Manitoba, and the Manitoba Workers’ Compensation Board.