Bill 6 has ‘cropped’ up again. Agriculture and Forestry will soon begin the next phase of consultations with the farm and ranch sector on the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act.
The provincial government says members have been selected for the six working groups that will develop recommendations on how employment standards, occupational health and safety, and labour relations requirements should be applied – given the unique needs of employers and employees in the agriculture sector.
“We know we can make workplaces safer,” Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, emphasized. “We’ve seen the rates of farm fatalities and serious injuries go down when laws to protect farm and ranch employees were introduced in other jurisdictions. Legislation works. That’s why we are eager to begin this process to provide input from a broad and diverse range of voices from the farming and ranching sector.”
Alberta’s Minister of Labour, Christina Gray, says it is her ministry’s mandate to ensure working persons in the province make it home every night safe and sound. “Every worker has the right to a safe, fair workplace. I believe employers, workers, labour groups, industry organizations and government all have a responsibility to make that happen. I’m very pleased to see all these voices are represented in the consultations.”
Wildrose Agriculture Critic Rick Strankman says the official opposition will have a very close look at all of the members of the six working groups to make sure they “properly” represent farmers and ranchers in Alberta.
“This NDP government continues to be so vague on details and timelines, as well as the compliance that will be necessary for farmers and ranchers while regulations for Bill 6 are developed. I have significant concerns that any positive work that may come out of consulting with actual farmers and ranchers will be superseded by the NDP government on this legislation.”
Each working group is chaired by an independent and impartial individual with demonstrated mediation, consensus and board governance experience. Members were selected from a process that included nearly 250 submissions from the agricultural sector, labour groups and technical experts. The first meetings will be held in mid-June.
The government also says that producers who are members of agricultural commissions and marketing boards can provide their input and feedback through their organization.
Albertans will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft regulations that come forward as a result of the work done by the technical working groups.