Strankman con­cerned about Farm safety bill

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Patrick Ko­lafa

While the gov­ern­ment has asked for in­put from Al­ber­tans on how pro­vin­cial labour laws could ap­ply to farm and ranches, MLA Rick Strankman, has con­cerns about the process.

On March 6, the Al­berta gov­ern­ment put a call out to Al­ber­tans to pro­vide in­put into the con­tentious leg­is­la­tion.

In May of last year, the gov­ern­ment formed six work­ing groups to de­velop rec­om­men­da­tions on how em­ploy­ment stan­dards, labour re­la­tions and Oc­cu­pa­tions Health and Safety (OH&S) re­quire­ments could be ap­plied to the agri­cul­ture in­dus­tries.

Two of those tech­ni­cal work­ing groups; one on Em­ploy­ment Stan­dards and one on Labour Re­la­tions have sub­mit­ted their re­ports and they are avail­able for pub­lic scru­tiny and feed­back.

One of the con­cerns that MLA Strankman has is that the com­mit­tees them­selves did not have ma­jor­ity rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try.

‘There are only two of them re­port­ing, of the six,” he said. “Dave Schneider, the new Agri­cul­ture and Forestry Critic did ask a ques­tion on how they were go­ing to be com­ing for­ward with that.

“If the in­put they re­ceive is not nec­es­sar­ily to the gov­ern­ment’s lik­ing, how will they ad­ju­di­cate the re­sults they got, or will they just go ahead and do what­ever the heck they want.”

“We are won­der­ing whether the in­put will be heard.

He said de­spite this, he en­cour­ages peo­ple to look at the rec­om­men­da­tions.

“You have to en­cour­age peo­ple to try. We won’t know un­til the re­sults are pub­lic,” he said

He adds that be­cause the gov­ern­ment is ask­ing for in­put from Al­ber­tans, many who are

not di­rectly in­volved in the agri­cul­ture can re­spond.

The other four work­ing groups, in­clud­ing two re­view­ing ex­ist­ing re­quire­ment and ex­cep­tions of OH&S, as well as OH&S best prac­tices for agri­cul­ture, and OH&S on ed­u­ca­tion train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are ex­pected to re­port in the near fu­ture. The gov­ern­ment will be­gin draft­ing leg­isla­tive amend­ments based on the pub­lic feed­back it re­ceives.

Strankman says the OH&S rec­om­men­da­tions may be the most con­tentious parts.

“That will prob­a­bly be the most oner­ous one,” he said.

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