Alberta Gov't Asks for Feedback on Bill 6 Working Group Recommendations

Albertans are being asked to provide feedback on recommendations made by two of the working groups looking at how Bill 6 could apply to farms and ranches.

Since the introduction of the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act in November 2015, farmers across Alberta, and even other provinces, have criticized the government’s plan to implement tighter labour and safety regulations on farms.

In May 2016, six technical working groups were created to develop recommendations on how employment standards, labour relations, and occupational health and safety requirements could be applied to meet the unique needs of the agriculture industry.

Two of the six working groups — those focused on employment standards and labour relations — have come back with their recommendations, and the province is now looking for public comments. (You can read their recommendations and provide your feedback by CLICKING HERE.)

“I thank the members of the technical working groups for their hard work and dedication to this important process. The recommendations are an excellent starting point to ensure waged non-family farm workers have the same rights as other workers, while preserving the way of life that is the foundation of rural Alberta,” said Ag Minister Oneil Carlier in a news release issued Monday.

The employment standards working group, which was chaired by David Gould, recommends exemptions for family members, and for farms when it comes to hours spent working and overtime pay. The labour relations group, chaired by Cheryl Yingst Bartel, also offered several recommendations, but was unable to reach a consensus on several topics, such as whether farm workers should have the right to strike. On these issues, the labour relations group report outlines “strategic options” with rationale for and against.

“I’m pleased to share the first set of recommendations we received from the working groups. We promised we would seek feedback as we go through this process and I encourage Albertans to look at the recommendations and provide their honest and frank response. Your views are very important to us as we work together to get this right.” — Christina Gray, Minister of Labour

April 3rd is the deadline for providing feedback on the employment standards and labour relations recommendations. The province says it will then began drafting legislative amendments based on the recommendations and public feedback received.

Recommendations from the four technical working groups reviewing Occupational Health and Safety are “expected in the near future.”

Stay tuned to RealAgriculture for the latest details on the implementation of Bill 6. Although the issue has quieted down, the government still has much work to do in order to implement, and then enforce, the changes.

Related: Alberta Government Releases Details on Bill 6 Working Groups

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