Strankman still concerned with farm safety bill
The Alberta government is now looking for nominations to build working groups to consult on the contentious farm safety act.
In December of last year, the Alberta legislature passed Bill 6 to a chorus of opposition from farmers and farming groups. Last week Alberta Agr ic u l t u r e and Forestry put call out for nominations from stakeholders to participate in six technical working groups to develop recommendations on “how emp l o yment standards, occupational health and safety, and labour relations requirements should be applied given the unique needs of employers and employees in the agriculture sector.”
“Farming is more than a job, it’s a way of life, and this government recognizes that,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. “These technical working groups will provide an opportunity for a broad and diverse range of voices from the farming and ranching sector to ensure their way of life is preserved, while at the same time ensuring waged workers come home safely at the end of each day.”
Drumheller-Stettler MLA and Agriculture and Forestry critic Rick Strankman says that this week he is scheduled to have a conference call with Minister Carlier on the subject. His original assessment of the government putting the bill before regulations, still rings through.
“It is the complete cart before the horse situation here," he said. “This is the conundrum the agriculture sector has been placed in right now,
a is they have a legally binding legislation, but the regulations that relate to it are still to be drawn up.”
He likens it to outlawing speeding on a highway, but not setting a speed limit.
Strankman has heard that representatives of groups in the agriculture industry are getting together to make recommendations. “There is a group now, I understand, of over 20 agriculture organizations who have voluntarily coalesced together to provide input,” said Strankman. “They are trying to formalize it.” He has some concerns about the process. He said he believes this is a labour issue, however the file appears to be in the hands of the Minister of Agriculture.
He has seen the online application, as he has concerns for people in the ag industry trying to get involved.
“I spotted immediately in the application process that people who are nominated are supposed to be available for teleconferences or video conferences, almost always on call during the months of April and May. Those are the two most busy months of the year for agriculture.”
According to an online bulletin from the province, “The nomination process will identify representatives from the agricultural sector, labour groups, and technical experts. Each working group will be chaired by an independent and impartial individual with demonstrated mediation, consensus, and board governance experience. Additional information and nomination forms for working group membership are available online on the Farm and Ranch Workplace Legislation website."
Rick Strankman… Drumheller-Stettler MLA