EDMONTON, AB (December 16, 2015): Wildrose is calling on the premier to release details about exactly how and when the government will conduct Bill 6 consultations on regulations for farmers and ranchers in the new year.
The demand is driven by NDP documents (below) which show that the government originally planned upcoming “special” sessions on Bill 6 regulations with labour groups and academics, but no further public sessions with actual farmers and ranchers.
“The NDP promised further consultation on Bill 6 regulations, but Albertans still have no timeline or details and farmers and ranchers need answers,” Wildrose Shadow Jobs Minister Grant Hunter said. “Bill 6 is flawed and the consultation process leading up to it was hopelessly flawed, but the government must keep its promise to finally have adequate consultations before farmers and ranchers are saddled with new regulations.”
Bill 6, as passed, will have some parts implemented on Jan. 1, but cabinet has full discretion over the crucial details still to be worked out on the labour relations rules, employment standards, and OH&S codes that will be applied to Alberta’s farms and ranches.
Wildrose believes Bill 6 should be put on hold while a farm safety council, led by Alberta’s farm and ranch community, analyzes the four different sections of this omnibus legislation, including: labour relations, occupational health and safety, employment standards and injured worker insurance.
The NDP government’s story has changed many times since their first public documents were presented on Bill 6. In the initial briefing document, they outlined a timeline of Employment Standards and Labour Relations details being implemented in “Spring 2016,” and Occupational Health and Safety standards in 2017, but that document has no public consultations beyond December of 2015.
“If the NDP understood Alberta’s farm and ranch community, they would have done consultations before legislation, and not the other way around,” Wildrose Shadow Agriculture Minister Rick Strankman said. “But with the bill now passed, it’s up to the government to tell Alberta’s farmers and ranchers how they can be part of making the regulations and when they can see and comment on draft regulations.”