Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers
Act, was recently introduced in the Alberta Legislature. If
passed, the Bill would make farms and ranches and their workers
workplace requirements under the Occupational Health and
Workers' Compensation Board insurance coverage;
Alberta's Employment Standards Code so that
provisions dealing with hours of work, overtime, holidays,
vacations, restrictions on the employment of children, and minimum
wage would all apply; and
Alberta's Labour Relations Code so that full
unionization rights would be available to farm and ranch
These changes could apply to farmworkers as early as January 1,
2016. However, the Government has recently stated that further
consultation with farmers will take place before technical health
and safety rules are developed, and before changes are made to
Employment Standards and Labour Relations legislation.
The agricultural community has voiced opposition to the Bill and
expressed concern over how the new legislation could affect
traditional family farm operations. In response, the Government has
recently said it intends to introduce amendments which would
clarify that WCB coverage and OHS Standards would only be
applicable where a farm employs paid employees.
Farm employers will be very interested to see whether the
legislation is passed in the fall session and if any further steps
are taken by the Government to address ongoing concerns of the
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Alberta is going through a difficult economic period. These times can be challenging and while owners struggle to get their business through the rough patch, they want to preserve the assets and capital they have built up.
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