Medicine Hat, AB - Whether farmers and ranchers agree with it or not, the final stage of Bill 6 will be implemented as of December 1st.
“Our government has the backs of working people and we value the contributions of Alberta’s farm and ranch communities," said Christina Gray, Minister of Labour in a press-release. "We have worked collaboratively with farmers, ranchers and workers to make changes that ensure workers in Alberta benefit from the same protections as workers in other provinces.”
The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) code will apply to farms and ranches that employ waged, non-family workers.
The rules reflect the need to protect health and safety, while preserving the way of life on the farm.
“All workers have a right to return home safely each day," said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in the same press-release. "I am confident the new rules will ensure farm and ranch workers are better protected just like their peers in other provinces. I want to thank Alberta producers for their hard work and for helping find the right balance.”
Under the new regulations, employers need to ensure safe access to and from work sites, provide written instruction for how to use tools and equipment, and provide hazard assessment's for vehicles such as tractors.
By comparing data from 2017 to 2016 – the first year health and safety rules applied to the sector –, the overall injury rate decreased 21 per cent and the serious injury rate decreased 23 per cent.
Family members and volunteers are exempt from the OHS rules. Neighbours can still provide support to neighbours and kids can still do chores on the farm as they have always done.
Eligible producers can also apply for grants to help offset the costs of implementing the new rules. Up to $6 million is available during the next three years through the Farm Health and Safety Producer Grant program.
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