Alberta NDP should tap the brakes on Bill 6, its new Farm and Ranch Safety law

The Alberta government needs to rethink its approach to overhauling safety laws on family farms and ranches. Since it was introduced in the Legislature on Nov. 17, confusion about Bill 6: Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act has triggered a significant backlash from Albertans in rural communities across the province.

Bill 6 would expand sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Workers’ Compensation Act, Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code to apply to farm worksites. If Bill 6 is approved by the Legislature, WCB coverage will be mandatory and farms and ranches in Alberta will no longer be exempt from OHS laws. Alberta is currently the only province without employment standards coverage for farm and ranch workers.

Around 200 protesters gathered at the Alberta Legislature on Nov. 27, 2015.

Around 200 protesters gathered at the Alberta Legislature on Nov. 27, 2015.

Nearly 400 angry farmers showed up to voice their concerns about Bill 6 at a government-organized town hall meeting in Grande Prairie last week. The event was hosted by public servants and consultants with no MLAs in attendance. Western Producer reporter Mary MacArthur reported this week that MLAs will be present at future town hall meetings planned for Red Deer, Okotoks, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Leduc, Vegreville, Olds and Athabasca.

Close to 200 people, along with 2 ponies, 1 border collie and 1 turkey (see above), staged an afternoon protest against Bill 6 outside the Alberta Legislature on Nov. 27, 2015. To their credit, Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Minister Lori Sigurdson and Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee waded into the crowd of protesters at the Legislature to hear their concerns.

Lori Sigurdson waded into the crowd of protesters outside the Legislature.

Lori Sigurdson waded into the crowd of protesters outside the Legislature.

It is clear that there are some changes that do need to be made to farm safety laws in Alberta. As is the case in every other province in Canada, the government has a responsibility to ensure that safety standards exist for all worksites in Alberta, including agricultural work environments.

But this is where the New Democratic Party government may have put the cart before the horse. It is unfortunate that the government did not choose to hold these public consultation meetings before introducing the bill. It seems that the NDP could have saved themselves a lot of grief if Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier, Premier Rachel Notley, Ms. Sigurdson and other NDP MLAs had started this process by travelling to the rural areas of the province to ask farmers and ranchers how changes could impact them.

Danielle Larivee waded into the crowd of protesters outside the Legislature.

Danielle Larivee waded into the crowd of protesters outside the Legislature.

Under current safety laws, provincial officers are not allowed to conduct investigations when a workplace fatality takes place on a farm or ranch. The WCB is a shield to protect employers from lawsuits in case of workplace injury and should probably be extended to cover all actual employees of farms and ranches. And farm workers should not be exempt from being given the choice to bargain collectively, a right affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada.

But legal changes also need to reflect the uniqueness of family farms and ranches.

Unlike other worksites, farms rely heavily on incidental and seasonal help during spring and fall from family, friends and neighbours. And by definition, work on a family farm will include work done by family members, some who will not be paid a regular salary and some who will be under the age of 18. It has not been clearly communicated by the government how these changes would impact the day to day operations of these family farms or whether exceptions will be made for smaller farming operations.

While some of the criticism of Bill 6 is rooted in hyperbole and hysterics generated by opponents of the government, it is clear that there is much confusion around this bill, which is a communications failure on the part of the government.

Ms. Sigurdson released a statement following yesterday’s protest at the Legislature trying to clarify the government’s position. “A paid farmworker who is directed to do something dangerous can say no, just like other workers in Alberta and Canada. And if they are hurt or killed at work, they or their family can be compensated, just like other workers in Alberta and Canada,” Ms. Sigurdson said.

The debate around Bill 6 also highlights a political divide between rural and urban Alberta, neither of which are monolithic communities. It would be easy for us city dwellers to cast rural Albertans opposing these legislative changes as being backward or uncaring when we read media reports of workers or young children killed in farm accidents. And comments by MLAs like Liberal leader David Swann that the current legal framework would make “Charles Dickens blush” probably do not help foster a feeling of collaboration, even if there is a hint of truth to how far behind Alberta is in farm safety rules compared to other provinces.

Alberta is an increasingly urban province. According to Statistics Canada, in 1961, 53 percent of Albertans lived in rural areas. As of 2011, 83 percent of Albertans lived in urban centres with only 17 percent of our province’s population living in rural areas. This is a massive population shift.

The recent provincial election marked a rare moment in our province’s history where MLAs from rural Alberta do not have a large voice in the government caucus. Twelve of the 53 NDP MLAs elected in May 2015 represent rural or partially rural constituencies. Most areas of rural Alberta are represented by Wildrose Party MLAs, who have taken every opportunity to attack the new government and advance the narrative that the NDP do not understand rural Alberta.

As most of their NDP MLAs were elected in urban centres, they should heed the advice that MLA Hugh Horner gave Progressive Conservative Party leader Peter Lougheed more than forty years ago.

David Wood observed in his biography of Mr. Lougheed, the Lougheed Legacy, that “Horner made one point that Lougheed and his colleagues have never forgotten: when you start believing that the people in rural Alberta are somehow different than the people in the bigger centres, you’re making a mistake. Rural Albertans come into the cities, go to concerts, shop in the malls: they’re as sophisticated and as aware of the rest of the world as any of their city cousins.”

Ms. Notley grew up in the northern Alberta town of Fairview. Her father, Grant Notley, was elected and re-elected as the MLA for Spirit River-Fairview four times between 1971 and 1984. Coming from rural Alberta, Ms. Notley should have an understanding of these changes could impact farmers and ranchers.

The government has a responsibility to ensure that safety standards exist for all worksites in Alberta, including agricultural work environments. It also has a responsibility to clearly communicate to Albertans why these changes are needed and how they would be implemented. The NDP would demonstrate good will to rural Albertans by slightly tapping the breaks on Bill 6 and restarting this process with a thorough and meaningful consultation about improving farm and ranch safety in Alberta.

Update (Dec 1, 2015): The government announced it is proposing amendments to Bill 6 that would:

  • make clear WCB coverage would be required only for paid employees, with an option for farmers to extend coverage to unpaid workers like family members, neighbours and friends;
  • make clear that Occupational Health and Safety standards apply when a farm employs one or more paid employees at any time of the year.

38 thoughts on “Alberta NDP should tap the brakes on Bill 6, its new Farm and Ranch Safety law

    1. Daver

      One aspect that nobody seems to have noticed is that the timing of this bill was atrocious, coming right on the heels of the carbon tax announcement.

      Farmers have already taken it in the teeth with the carbon tax, which will affect the family farm much more than your average “city guy”. Farming is an energy intensive activity (usually) and it will cost farmers a lot to work their fields and heat their barns. And those dollars come right out of the farmer’s pocket.

      Farmers were rightly grumbling; however, everyone has to do their part to fight climate change and I think they were in the process of grudgingly accepting it, and trying to figure out what adaptations to make.

      Now the goverment has added insult to injury. It’s just too much all at once.

      Reply
  1. Susan Thompson

    So offering all farmers the option to complete an online survey, submit their feedback to a dedicated email, attend town hall sessions and contact their local MLA offices is not a thorough and meaningful consultation, especially considering the bill hasn’t even passed yet? What more would you suggest the government do to ensure consultation?

    Reply
    1. Mel Kozun

      Susan, you missed the point. These consultations are being done AFTER the legislation has been introduced, not before.

      The horse is already out of the barn – it’s too late for consultation.

      Reply
      1. Kathy

        That is normal legislative procedure. A Bill is brought to the assembly for 1st reading to introduce it and state it’s purpose.

        Reply
    2. Nadine Quedenbaum

      those informational town hall consultations only started after the first reading and can’t be considered consultations, since it’s only for informational purposes on what will happen as of JAN 1st 2016! So far the last meeting is planned for Dec 14th – this doesn’t even leave enough time to go through all the responses! The online survey I filled out is designed to produce a predetermined outcome!

      Reply
    3. Bob Barnetson

      The consultations are about how to implement the details of the regulations, not about whether to regulate.

      The decision to regulate was a part of the ND’s election platform and that decision has been made.

      Given that, it is entirely appropriate to consult about implementation details while Bill 6 is before the legislature.

      Reply
      1. Daver

        I’m sorry, but I looked at the election platform (it’s still online) and I couldn’t find such a plank. Could someone please prove it?

        Reply
  2. David

    So is the standard now that the government should “consult” before bringing in any laws related to health and safety? Lets consult restaurants and see how they feel about a few cockroaches – I bet they don’t mind them as much as their customers.

    It is a free society and I suppose everyone has the right to express their opinion. There are a lot of laws that impact me as a citizen, should I demand to be “consulted” before any of those laws are passed.

    Pardon the pun, but there is a lot of BS coming from out in the country right now. Unlike the previous provincial government, the new Alberta government is not beholden to a few angry farmers. I would think it would generally be seen as a good thing that Alberta, which has been years behind every other province in Canada in farm health and safety is finally trying to catch up.

    The biggest political danger for the government is not a angry few farmers with pitch forks, but the reaction that will come when the next unnecessary farm worker death comes, if they cave into pressure now.

    Perhaps some see politics as trying to please everyone, which might work in the short run, but in the end good government is more about doing the right thing.

    Reply
    1. Farmer

      David – You can’t discount the concerns of an entire segment of the population that makes up the biggest part of the province’s economy after oil & gas. Farmers are not asking to be above the law – that is not the issue. Please take time to understand what the government is proposing and what the real concerns are of the farmers, and separate the emotions from the facts. Unless you have ever lived in the country, or worked on a farm how can you be making these statements with such conviction? Your comments are meant to show a superiority over your country neighbours. That’s not very neighbourly to the group who bends over backwards to produce your food.

      Reply
      1. David

        I actually did live on a farm for about half my life and worked on that farm too.

        As I understand it, every other province (including our agricultural neighbour Saskatchewan) has laws to protect farm workers. This is not a case of Alberta heading into uncharted waters, this is a case of us catching up with the rest of the world. The world hasn’t come to an end for the family farm in all those other provinces and it won’t in Alberta either, despite the hyperbole and emotion being whipped up right now (perhaps for political gain of one or more of the opposition parties).

        I don’t doubt there are concerns about the new laws, but I think these concerns are based more on fears and misinformation than facts. As I understand it the new laws do not apply to unpaid work by family members, which seems to one of the biggest, but of course unfounded concerns.

        I also believe that health and safety laws should be apply to all businesses – no one is superior or inferior. Yes, farmers do work hard to supply food to the rest of Alberta, to others in Canada and across the world. I realize that farmers feel that is not always appreciated. However, there are many hard working people who live in towns and cities that also do difficult work and are not appreciated or recognized too. Being a farmer is not an excuse to ask to be exempt from laws that apply to other businesses.

        What upsets me the most about this is that some are turning what is really a health and safety issue into a political issue. The people who are preying on others fears and feeding misinformation should be ashamed of themselves. Of course they are not , because they think they are being politically very clever.

        Reply
  3. Midge

    So can I just say that I think one problem with ‪#‎bill6‬ is that rural Alberta & landowners still have so many scars from ‪#‎pcaa‬ heavy handed approach to land use bills – 46, 19, 36, 50, etc etc. PCs did “consultation” after those bills were written, & then totally ignored any input from people impacted or any attempt to amend or make them more palatable. Thats part of reason that #pcaa is now a 10 member 3rd party caucus in the legislature.

    Those scars are still raw. And as a rural landowner, my spidey senses rear up when I see this kind of stuff. Farm safety is an important issue, no one argues that, but this kind of over arching legislation that lumps my little quarter that is used for pasture Into the same basket as big ag-business corporate operations with lots of employees is not going to work. It is definitely time to push the pause button, take a breath, then start again with respectful consultation before the fact. The family farm is still an important part of our province. Farmers vote. And I dont want a Wildrose government.

    Reply
  4. Lawrence.

    Slow down this Bill 6. What are we getting into here. why not have meaningful discussion , and move forward in a meaningful way.

    Reply
  5. Jerrymacgp

    Let’s remember, the vast majority of the agriculture industry (and yes, it is an industry) is dominated by large corporate operations, not so-called “small family farm”. Are workers on those operations not entitled to the same health & safety protections as each and every other employee in Canada? And, small family farms are still small businesses, with employees; what about their health & safety? It’s no different in principle than any other small business, like a plumbing contractor, convenience store, retail boutique, or independent auto repair shop.

    Workplace health & safety legislation affects employers and employees; family members that are not also employees would not be covered by such legislation.

    This is just the bill; even after it passes, there will need to be regulations developed before it is proclaimed into effect, and I’m sure there will be another round of consultations then. But let’s be clear: once again the NDP Government is being blasted for … wait for it … doing exactly what it promised it would do. The NDP (as well as the Alberta Liberal Party) has long had a policy in favour of bringing Alberta agricultural workplaces out of the Dark Ages; this is just them fulfilling that commitment, something we have seen too little of in Alberta politics, and so may be a bit unfamiliar.

    Reply
  6. Bob Barnetson

    Something that seems to be missing given the uproar about a “lack of consultation” is what type of consultation occurred with all of the major producer groups prior to the introduction of Bill 6. My understanding is that they were all consulted. Perhaps the producer groups might like to clarify that?

    Reply
    1. Daver

      I am a chicken farmer, and about 10 days ago I was sent an email by my industry group “Alberta Chicken Producers”, in which they made very clear that they were NOT consulted. It was a surprise.

      Reply
  7. Dan McAvena

    To be frank the Lack of Parental controls on the Farm in Alberta is very Concerning consider how many are lost on ATV’s and adults on farm equipment the master of machinery and the slave to the hours it requires to actually run a family farm competing against incorporated farming for the market who is supplied by Temporary foreign workers ?

    Reply
  8. E Davison

    I was a grain farmer up until 2005. Having some familiarity with the industry I ask the question “How many true family farms still exist?”. Most of this has occurred because of economics, to survive in the industry today there is a continual consolidation of farms. When I was a kid, I got an allowance for helping around the farm. Now many farms are incorporated and the kids get a salary or dividends and many farmers are becoming virtual CEO’s. I can name many “farms” in my local area where the farms are 10,000 acres and over and have non family employees. Farming is dangerous as we saw this fall with the unfortunate death of those three girls. In fact the only time I was ever injured was while farming. So don’t these farm employees deserve protection too? Watching the CTV Morning News the young lady from Caroline is saying she won’t be able to feed her animals because “she has worked too long”. I’m pretty sure OHS inspectors have better things to be doing than chasing after “micro” farmers feeding their own critters. Yes they will drop in on the 10,000 acre plus “farmers” who have employees but not a farmer, his wife and his kids feeding their animals. Finally during the gun registry most farmers had unregistered firearms which was a criminal code violation and now suddenly we have all become spineless and suddenly lose our minds over a proposed provincial statute. More “Wildrose Two Stepping” dancing around the truth, stirring up fear of the end of Alberta. I think it is irresponsible for the official opposition to continue to lie, spread fear and “scapegoat” for their own political benefit. Shame on you Brian Jean and your “opposition”!

    Reply
    1. Sarah Wray

      Actually 95 % of the farms in Alberta/Canada are still family owned and operated. I think it is a real shame that this is being turned into one party vs. the other. The amount of ill informed information that is out around this bill is sad. Employees of the government that I have talked to don’t even understand how our legislation that is trying to be passed differs than most of the other provinces. From the ones I have read (western provinces_ they all have some sort of family farm exemption, they have also focused on increasing farm safety training for families.

      Currently it is said that your average Canadian is two generations removed from the family farm. Farmers have a lot of work to do in helping to bridge the gap between our urban neighbours and their food. I have worked in the non-profit ag world for the last 8 years, to see how little funding ag education gets is large eye opener. Most of the corporate and government dollars go into educating school aged city children on their food. The next largest portion does go into school aged children farm safety days, but very, very little goes into educating farmers above the age of 18 on things such a farm safety.

      I think what is being missed is that farmers have so much to consider when it comes to running their businesses. We have many area of scrutiny from the public as of late (employee/family safety, animal rights, food safety, environment and economics). This is why I would like the government to slow down. You can not only focus on one area of this system, they all have to be consulted and considered. For instance, when our Alberta winter drops to -35 and lower these may be considered unsafe conditions to work in. However these do become the most important times from to care for our animals (which actually has legislation around it also), who we are not only required want/need to take care of the needs they no longer can get themselves. Nobody is saying that we shouldn’t have something in place we are saying take the time to listen. I believe our province has a really great opportunity, we are the last to implement these changes, so allow producer groups/farmers to consult with other provinces on how we can make the bill an example to follow.

      Reply
  9. Brent McGillis

    I am what you have catagorized as “enemies of the government”, and I can assure you that the corruption that I have stated in my blog page is not in any way to be construed as “Hyperbole”.
    When the day comes that you are abused by a super corrupt gang of Insurance Scammers masquerading as a legitimate WCB org. then you can call people like my self exaggerators, but until that day comes I am the real deal and I do speak the truth about what happens to you when the WCB wields it giant steel mallot to CRUSH dissent coming from seriously injured workers who have been abused at the hands of the WCB. People need to know what the true consequences of getting injured at work really are in Alberta.
    For the Government workers they have NO WORRIES, but for Joe Average Albertan they need to be afraid, be very afraid of your government and the Workers Compensation Board because the only representation they offer for Injured Workers is in their NAME only. The WCB is and always has been a Iron Clad Legal INSULATION program to deny Seriously Injured workers a proper and timely “Legal Remedy” for the injuries we suffer. Without a proper legal remedy tool we are screwed for life when you get injured in Alberta and you do NOT WORK for the Government.
    That is the truth about suffering an Accident at work in Hellberta.

    Reply
  10. Jim

    Interesting article. Do you think that the Government (PC or NDP) does an adequate job providing public consultations on most legislation? Seeking the input and participation of the public is an area where all parties need to do a better job. A few surveys isn’t good enough.

    Reply
  11. Nicole

    I live in the city and my family farms. You know what story I haven’t seen published… The one about food prices increasing as a direct result of this Bill. Crazy increase no, but increase nonetheless. If you purchase locally grown, organic, and farmers market foods- this legislation has a direct impact on your food prices! Bill 6 means added WCB fees, added adminstration costs, added health & safety costs, and added training costs to each and every farm.

    I believe paid workers should have OHS coverage.

    For my family (unpaid workers), we should have the right to choose what is best for us. There is private insurance options available to famers. Bill 6 is a great example of over-regulating.

    Some comments above touched on the legislative process… True consultation after the bill introduction is normal. Is it common for the legislation to come into force before the consultations? (Jan 1st)

    You can’t blame people (myself included) for being defensive. The Bill has a crazy tight timeline, so many unknowns, so many items the government says they will “address” later (fyi they don’t even have simple terminology defined in their framework like: farm, work, chores), and it directly affects 100% of Alberta farms, 98% of those are family operated.

    In terms of NDP’s communication efforts, FAIL.

    Reply
    1. Jerrymacgp

      Read the Bill. It only applies to agricultural employers and employees, not to family members engaged in unpaid work (usually on a smaller farm).

      Reply
      1. Betty

        I read the bill before the “consultations” began, and it was very clear that it applied to both paid and unpaid workers. I just had another look at the website http://work.alberta.ca/farm-and-ranch.html (where there is a statement that it is now being updated) and the bill and FAQs are not available.
        The survey is still there, and I agree that it is designed to obtain a specific outcome. Democracy at work!

        Reply
  12. Tom

    People against Bill 6: The legislation only applies to paid farm workers, and Alberta is the only province without such legislation. Children can still work on family farms, and neighbours can still help each other out. Farm workers need to be protected just like any other worker, and have the right to reasonable pay, hours, and protection. This should not be an issue. The farms that employ workers have seen it coming for years. My opinion is the people making it into an issue have political motives. The family farm will remain alive and well.

    Reply
    1. Daver

      I am a farmer and I voted for the NDP. Now I wish I hadn’t.

      I am frustrated by some of the naive viewpoints I have read. This bill only applies to “paid farm workers” I am told. Well, my brother and I run a modest sized chicken farm. For tax reasons we incorporated it, and now we are technically paid employees, even though we remain owners. We have no other employees. MANY small farms are exactly like this. So do I qualify as a paid employee, or am I still a family farm? No speculation please, give me chapter and verse in the bill that spells this out.

      I do not want or need WCB coverage. I already have disability insurance, thank-you very much.

      As for safety, will OH&S officials now be able to come on to my farm and dictate what is safe or not? Perhaps I will be required to install a seat belt on my tractor. Better yet, due to low clearance in my barn, my tractor does not have a roll cage. Will I be required to buy a different tractor? Which bureaucrat will decide on the multitude of safety scenarios, many unique to the particular kind of farm in question? This is perhaps what “Nicole” (above) meant by over-regulation.

      Don’t I know better than anyone else what is safe or unsafe on my farm? After all, it is in my best interest not to injure or kill myself. And unforseeable accidents will happen whether a bible of regulations exists or not.

      Also, many on this list have missed the main point. Farmers are really reacting to a lack of respect. There was NO farmer input into the construction of the bill, and it was even a surprise to representative industry groups (e.g. “Alberta Chicken Producers”). True, now last-minute “consultations” are taking place (cudos to some MLAs for taking ferocious heat), but Premier Notley refuses to even consider post-poning implementation to fully appreciate and incorporate the many issues that farmers are worried about with this bill. I find that fundamentally disrespectful!

      Also, some of you have said that this was part of the NDP campaign platform. Well, I looked at the platform during the campaign and I looked again just now. There is nothing in the “Agriculture” section about this at all. I feel misled.

      I support giving agricultural employees more rights. However, the NDP has executed this idea in a completely incompetent manner. If they insist on ramming it through, farmers will not forget: say goodbye to the few rural seats they have.

      Reply
  13. Doug

    I have been watching with interest Bill 6 and the protests, and countering by the government seeming to give some “concessions” to the owners etc. of the farm. Well, no, the owners and immediate family (unpaid workers) do not have to participate in WCB and can opt out. That option has always been there. While the company has to pay the premium for itself (entity) and paid workers, directors do not have to participate. But there is a catch. One of the big selling features WCB boasts of is that when you are insured by WCB, by act of Legislation you cannot be sued in any case deemed to be a workplace accident by any party, provided all parties are covered by WCB. So if Joe is your worker and hurts himself on the job, you cannot be sued. If Joe works for the farm down the road and he injures himself on your farm, and both the neighbours farm and your farm are under WCB, no one can sue. But if you opt out as a director, and Joe injures himself, he may not be able to sue 123456 Alberta Farm Ltd., but he can sue you as a director. If you opt in, Joe cannot. WCB is the only insurance company that can sell you a policy that guarantees that you cannot be sued by act of Legislation. Think of this scenario. You can say, well prior to the WCB, I would have been open to lawsuits anyway, what is the difference? Well, when Joe injured himself, Joe has to sue a lot of entities and try and prove negligence, and normally several people and entities are named in the suit. Now under WCB, Joe has no where to turn, unless he knows you as a director are not covered, and he and his lawyers give you 100% of their attention. And the WCB? Go fight it on your own, we gave you the option and you opted out. Now I am not saying the WCB is a bad thing, its not. Most companies these days make safety the number one priority. That is a good thing. And in doing so, keep their rates down. What I am saying is understand what opting out really means. It will give you pause to give it second thought. Cheers.

    Reply
  14. Rural gal

    I have the original output documents rom the govt. it did throw the same blanket over every farm. That is the document that has now disappeared and it did apply to paid and unpaid including children and
    Now it apples to any farm that has one employee paid for only one hour in the entire year. The full force of the bill is applied.
    There was consultation with commodity groups and in Okotoks rally someone read the email putting a gag order on these proceedings and someone who was at that table said it was not a consult as everything the groups suggested wa sdismissed.
    The Ministers have incredible difficulty answering questions. They do not seem to understand the bill and often give conflicting answers at different rally’s. ( and reporting that there were only a few hundred in Edmonton is wrong- 1800 signed in for the first one) have not got numbers for today.
    The bill has passed second reading as we were being consulted in Okotoks. Some consultations – lots of trust us, we have not written the regulations but we will pass the bill and then we can tell you what is in it. Where have we heard that before?
    It pains me greatly when it is assumed that those farms that have employees do not have protection for them. They carry liability and disability insurance – why do ppl think we are stupid enough not to! One large operation pointed out that he covers over 100 employees and he does not use WCB- his coverage is better for employees and less expensive than WCB. He specifically asked if he would be forced into higher costs with less benefits for his employees and forced into WC . After much face scrunching he finally knew the answer was yes. How would you like a govt do that to you?
    There were employees at the Okotks rally and they do not want this – they are happy with with their employer and are treated very well.
    But the bottom line is no one objects to farm safety and even regulation – there are templates in other provinces . And most exempt the family operations. In fact the Supreme Court has ruled that family farms cannot be unionized because of the unique nature of the farm. So bring us regulations, sit down across the table and get it right. And for goodness sakes let us see what is in the bill because every question is not answered or may be answered differently depending on the rally.
    And please do not keep disrespecting farmers as the guys that do not contribute much to Alberta – it is one of the largest industries. And if you eat, thank a farmer. Your landscapes are protected by farmers – who are the Stewart’s of the land? Who offers habitat – perhaps the ranchers! I am always surprised to be marginalized as a farmer or rancher. We are business ppl, we are self responsible , we are innovative, and we are price takers so we have to be innovative. Putting unnecessary regulatory burden on us is punitive. Why punish us – we do concern ourselves with safety and we do protect our kids, neighbors, friends and employees.
    One person was killed and he was not protected and that was wrong. But punishing 67,000 ppl is not logical. If it was OMG.
    No amount of regulation is going to stop accidents. we work every day to prevent them!

    Reply
  15. Tarn

    The health of the average youngster raised on a farm or in a rural setting, is so much more superior, to that of its Urban counterpart,that various health organizations and study groups,are using Huderite and Mennonites populations the base lines in various health studies. Allergies , resistance to infections and various forms of cancers, as well as similar studies.
    Does the N.D.P. care so little for the health and welfare of children , that they would have the healthy adopt the ways of the more sickly Urban child.
    Those of the City should think twice before deciding which practices are suitable for those living in a rural setting, perhaps they,the Urban born and raised should have none,it seems they have little idea of what it takes,and the true metal of those who live in the country.
    At the rate the N.D.P. are going, a revolt of the Rural community’s would have devastating results. Country people are used to hardship,more inclined towards need than want. Urbanites are not ,they feel entitled, but they do not grow the food.
    Governments have fallen over less.
    Speaking of food production and the welfare of those who produce such and essential element to human survival , food,. Provincial government, N.D.P. may not hold jurisdiction over food producing farmer and ranchers,but instead it is a Federal matter.

    Reply
  16. Brian

    This bill should be called money for nothing
    WCB most likely lobbied the NPD to pass this bill into law.
    This bill is money for nothing for WCB and OHS
    Why didn’t the PC’s pass this Bill, because they knew it was wrong?
    The new bill is a money grab by Compensation Board and OHS. The Compensation Board was setup to keep employees from suing their employer. The New home Warrantee is another company setup by home builders to keep new home owners from suing the builder. The Compensation board is a company that makes money and doesn’t like paying out money. Occupational Safety and Health is another money maker that only comes out if there are fines to be imposed. The new rule is the light duty program developed by the Compensation Board to keep Company rates from going up. This meaning the farmer would have to keep employing the injured worker until he or she is deemed fit to return to work or have his rates go up and WCB paying nothing out. Big companies pass these costs onto the end user. Now the farmer would have to pass these costs onto the consumer. The more money WCB brings in and doesn’t pay out the higher the bonuses payed out at the end of the year to top executives and the people that denied claims.
    If this law is passed the farm worker should have to be trained and certified at his own cost as a farm worker and have his own company and pay his own Compensation premiums and sell his services to the farms. Just like a painter for instance.

    Reply
  17. Sarah m

    I think that the farmers’ protests are being taken out of context by the media and by people who don’t understand rural albertans. The real issue is that farmers deserve a voice. There was no mention that this was going to be done, so they were blind sided by something they were given no warning about, and were not given any input on. Now they have 6 weeks to try to have some say in something that is directed particularly at them, and people are wondering why they are screaming so loud? If you ACTUALLY listen to them, you will here that none of them are opposing safety, or paying for coverage. What they are actually rallying for is the understanding that their industry has unique needs that need to be considered, and the fact that they have been given no voice at all. There are companies that provide insurance for farms and ranches that provide more comprehensive coverage because it is specialized to their industry. So why aren’t farmers even being given the option to go with that kind of coverage? Should they make coverage mandatory? I think so. Should farmers have the right to choose best coverage for their industry? Yes. Should the ndp have mentioned this as part of their platform? Definitely. Why? So EVERY ONE could have had a voice in their future. Thats what they are really rallying for. Give farmers a choice, and give them a voice. That’s all.

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  18. Abe

    I think bill 6 is a good idea the farmers are whining for no reason they have gotten there way to long .they have absolutely nothing to to be against bill 6 besides the crooked farmers that don’t pay wcb should be shut down anyway I have worked for farmers when you broke your leg that was your problems and you had to sue them to get your monthly pay check and I can’t see how they can be against it

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  19. Abe

    I think bill 6 is a good idea the farmers are whining for no reason they have gotten there way to long .they have absolutely nothing to to be against bill 6 besides the crooked farmers that don’t pay wcb should be shut down anyway I have worked for farmers when you broke your leg that was your problems and you had to sue them to get your monthly pay check and I can’t see how they can be against it and I know no body is going to read this one

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