Some industry groups have already met with the provincial ag minister
By Diego Flammini
Alberta farmers can expect the provincial government to ask them for input on a revised version of Bill 6.
Consultations on the piece of farm safety legislation could begin at the end of the Calgary Stampede on July 14. The province wants to hear from producers, Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen said.
“It will be very grassroots, talking to farmers in their own areas to say what makes sense?” HighRiver Online reported on Tuesday. “What (are) actually practical, common-sense farm regulations, rather than just, ‘Here’s a big giant booklet or set of regulations that you’re supposed to do.’”
The United Conservative Party’s (UCP) campaign promises included doing away with the NDP’s Bill 6 and introducing the Farm Freedom and Safety Act.
The new law would require employers to maintain workplace insurance for ag workers, but give them the option to choose between a private provider or the Workers Compensation Board.
Some meetings about a new farm safety law have already taken place.
The key outcome of the process must be getting the legislation right for the whole industry, said Mike Southwood, general manager of Alberta Milk.
“There are definitely differences between sectors,” he told Farms.com. “But I think the big push for most of the industry is just to have regulations in place that meet with the needs of farmers. A lot of work went in before the change in the government and, really, I think the minister just wants to get this right. That’s the impression we’ve gotten from pre-meetings with him.”
Producers are hoping the new bill is a good mix of the NDP’s groundwork and the UCP’s updates.
Fair treatment of employees is important to a healthy ag industry, said Humphrey Banack, second vice-president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture.
“You know, I don’t want my kids and grandkids going into a career path, if this is what they choose, where they won’t be treated well,” he told the Calgary Herald. “We believe that farm worker protection is important. I don’t see a lot of changes that need to be made.”