Help shape farm and ranch labour legislation
Albertans are being encouraged to provide input on how provincial labour laws could apply to farms and ranches.
In May 2016, six technical working groups began developing 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.
The technical working groups that were reviewing employment standards and labour relations have completed their work. Their recommendations are now posted online and Albertans will have until April 3 to provide feedback to government.
“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.”
Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
“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
Both working groups were chaired by an independent and impartial individual with mediation, consensus and board governance experience. The groups included members from the agricultural sector, labour groups and technical experts.
“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. 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.”
David Gould, Chair of Employment Standards Technical Working Group
“Over the course of five days, a group of people with diverse interests came together to consider how the Labour Relations Code would apply to agricultural workers and employers. Those individuals committed to dialogue rather than debate and to listening to each other’s viewpoints with an open mind. As Chair, I commend the hard work of all our participants.”
Cheryl Yingst Bartel, Chair of Labour Relations Technical Working Group
· Government will begin 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.
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.