Lacombe, AB T4L 2A6
t: 403-789-9151 f: 403-789-9152
|NEWS & MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17 / November / 2015
AFA studying new plans for WCB and OHS, urges producers to learn more and share their views
Lacombe, AB (November 17, 2015) – The Government of Alberta today unveiled plans to bring agriculture under OHS legislation and WCB regulation. After analyzing the proposal, Alberta’s largest producer-funded general farm organization believes some changes were needed, but that more consultation and communication are essential.
The announcement was made by Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier and Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour on a farm near Gibbons, Alberta.
Two significant changes to Alberta’s farm labour and safety legislation have been proposed. First, WCB coverage will be mandatory for farm workers, as of January 1, 2016. The same day, agriculture’s long-standing exemption from provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act will end. Among other things, farm fatalities and serious accidents would be subject to investigation. Additionally, it is proposed that agriculture’s exemption under Employment Standards and Labour Relations legislation be removed.
According to AFA President Lynn Jacobson, the proposed changes will affect all Alberta farm producers and will mean a significant learning curve over the next six weeks.
“Our position is that WCB is a valuable risk management tool that provides protection over and above anything else currently available for farm workers and farm owners,” says Jacobson. “On the OHS side, we need to understand the implications of new technical requirements to which farmers will be subject. The relationship between WCB, OHS and farm safety also needs study. We’d like to see a gradual implementation of the OHS changes, supported by extensive producer education and awareness.”
AFA believes the simultaneous introduction of changes to WCB, OHS, Employment Standards and Labour Relations will create consternation among Alberta farm producers. A recent AFA survey found that producers are not generally knowledgeable about these pieces of legislation. AFA urges all Alberta farm producers to seek out information on these changes, and participate in the consultative process outlined by the Government of Alberta.
Says Jacobson: “AFA welcomes the government's plan for a clear, defined consultative process. We encourage all producers to attend the town hall meeting being held in their area.”
Alberta farm producers can also find out more by visiting www.work.alberta.ca/farmandranch.
-- end --
For More information, please contact:
(Mr.) Lynn Jacobson, President at 403-894-5208
Sheryl Rae, Executive Director at 403-505-4625
Alberta Federation of Agriculture is Alberta's largest producer funded general farm organization. Whenever decisions are being made that affect the province's agricultural industry, we're there, providing an effective voice for Alberta's farmers. For more information on AFA, please visit our website at: www.afaonline.ca