While the government's new Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) rules affecting paid, non-family farm workers in Alberta represent a significant win for farm worker safety, a number of troubling exceptions will continue to heighten the risk of farm worker injury and death.
A 2015 report prepared for the former Progressive Conservative government and released after a freedom of information request reveals the extent of farm worker injuries and a lack of adequate insurance coverage for paid employees on farms.
Bill 6 (the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act) extends basic occupational health and safety rights to paid Alberta farm workers, but recommendations from a government-appointed working group on employment standards would weaken those basic protections.
The Alberta government's Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act, has become the most contentious legislation of NDP government's short tenure. Athabasca University professor of labour relations Bob Barnetson looks at five of the main arguments against the bill.