Farm and Ranch Workplace Legislation (www.alberta.ca)
What Changed on January 1st, 2016?
Key changes came into effect for farms and ranches employing waged, non-family individuals:
- Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) insurance coverage is required for paid workers. These workers are covered under WCB as of January 1st. Employers will have until April 30 to register with WCB. They will also have the option to purchase insurance to cover family members and unpaid workers.
- Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) basic safety standards will apply to paid workers while they're onsite:
- employers must take reasonable steps to provide a safe and healthy workplace
- workers will be able to refuse unsafe work that presents an imminent danger
- OHS will be able to investigate serious injuries and fatalities.
Farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders will then be consulted on the following:
- Detailed OHS technical standards specific to the farm and ranch industry will be developed or amended over the next 18 months. Employment Standards and Labour Relations codes will be developed after consultations with industry. Farm and ranch operation.
Who is Affected?
Alberta farm and ranch producers with paid employees who are not the owner or related to the owner will be affected by Bill 6. This means that family members can continue to contribute to farming operations as they always have, and neighbours can still volunteer to help each other out.
Who is Not Affected?
F arm families who do not have any waged workers Unpaid farm and ranch workers, such as relatives, friends and neighbours helping out on the family farm Children doing chores or participating in 4-H Bill 6 also doesn't apply to recreational activities, such as hunting on farmland.
Why are Changes needed?
The Government created the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act to bring the protection and compensation of non-family farm and ranch employees in line with what's already extended to other employees and similar to what's in place in other provinces, where family farms continue to thrive. Legislation can make a difference. Since laws to protect farm and ranch employees were introduced in British Columbia, the farm fatality rate was reduced by 68%, the farm injury rate was reduced by 52%, and the serious injury rate was reduced by 41%. We can make workplaces safer. We’re working with farmers, ranchers and industry representatives to ensure we find the right balance between safety and the unique needs of the farm and ranch industry.