Working groups for Bill 6 appointed
The highly contentious Farm Safety Act has moved into its next stage of forming working groups to complete the regulations.
Bill 6 was introduced by the Government last winter and has been controversial from the get go, with many agriculturalists worrying about the survival of the family farm. On Friday, the government released a list of the members of the consultation panels. These are six groups that will develop recommendations in the areas of employment standards and labour relations, reviewing occupational health and safety requirements and exceptions, best practices and education, training and certification.
MLA for Drumheller-Stettler Rick Strankman does have some concerns about the working groups.
“Wildrose will carefully review the panelists announced today to ensure that they properly represent the farmers and ranchers of our province,” he said.
While he has not had a good look at the composition of the groups, he hopes the members will work in good faith.
“We have to be positive that we are striving for greater safety, that is the key. No one in any of these portfolios on either side of the fence is not for greater safety,” he said. Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier says they are eager to consult producers.
“We know we can make workplaces safer. We’ve seen the rates of farm fatalities and serious injuries go down when laws to protect farm and ranch employees were introduced in other jurisdictions. Legislation works. That’s why we are eager to begin this process to provide input from a broad and diverse range of voices from the farming and ranching sector,” said Carlier.
Strankman takes issue with the simple statement that “legislation works.”
“That is a pretty broad statement… I think it is interesting that he would couch it with those words when, in many cases, education is a way towards greater safety,” he said.
“Certainly legislation is important but the goal is safety.”
While Bill 6 took effect on January 1, without the supporting regulations that have yet to be drafted, leaves some ambiguity.
“The NDP government continues to be vague on details and timelines, as well as the compliance that will be necessary for farmers and ranchers while regulations for Bill 6 are developed,” said Strankman. “I continue to have concerns that any positive work that may come out of consulting with actual farmers and ranchers will be superseded by the NDP government on this legislation.”
Rick Strankman… Drumheller-Stettler MLA