Consultations begin in Alberta on farm freedom and safety
July 16, 2019 By Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Farms and ranches operate differently than other employers in Alberta. The previous government’s Bill 6 was passed with limited public input and in the face of strong opposition from farmers. This government will repeal Bill 6 and introduce the Farm Freedom and Safety Act after a period of extensive consultation.
“Alberta farmers need common-sense rules that promote farm safety – not process, not red tape. We’re going to repeal Bill 6, and I plan to meet with farmers this summer to develop the legislation to replace it,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
“I appreciate that Minister Dreeshen is seeking feedback from the farm and ranch community in advance of tabling new farm safety legislation. We all value farm safety and employee protection, but recognize we are a unique work environment with unique requirements. I appreciate our collective voice will be heard by the government while crafting this bill,” said Allison Ammeter, central Alberta farmer.
Minister Dreeshen will undertake a consultation tour this summer, meeting with farmers, ranchers and organizations across the province.
In response to initial discussions with agriculture organizations, the government will seek input on:
- Recognizing that a farm is unlike other businesses, and that farmers and ranchers require flexibility in meeting workplace standards
- Requiring employers to have workplace insurance but allowing a choice of market insurance or the Workers’ Compensation Board, if basic coverage standards are met
- Exempting small farms from employment standards legislation, similar to New Brunswick
- Promoting education and best practices to improve farm safety
- Minimizing red tape and reducing the regulatory burden on farmers and ranchers, while still ensuring basic safety standards
An online survey is also available to members of the public looking to share their views.The online survey is open until Aug. 31, 2019.
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