Albertans are being encouraged to provide input on how provincial labour laws could apply to farms and ranches.
Six technical working groups have developed 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.
Recommendations are now posted online and Albertans will have until April 3 to comment.
“Those 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,” says Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier, MLA for Whitecourt – Ste. Anne.
The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act passed in December 2015 brings the protection and compensation of waged, non-family farm and ranch workers in line with similar protections in other sectors and other Canadian provinces.
“At the outset, technical working group 1 unanimously committed to providing safe, fair and healthy workplaces reflecting the realities of Alberta’s farm and ranch operations,” says David Gould, who chairs the employment standards working group.
“We agreed to a dialogue rather than a debate, seeking to understand and share perspectives.
“Based on this shared understanding, the group was able to create recommendations for future regulations that best meet the unique interests and needs of Alberta’s farm and ranch community.”
Government will begin drafting legislative amendments based on the recommendations and public comments.
Recommendations from the four technical working groups reviewing Occupational Health and Safety are expected in the near future.
“I’m pleased to share the first set of recommendations we received from the working groups,” says Labour Minister Christina Gray.
“Your views are very important to us as we work together to get this right.”
Both working groups were chaired by an independent and impartial individual with mediation, consensus and board governance experience.
Groups included members from the agricultural sector, labour groups and technical experts.