The Farm Freedom and Safety Act has been introduced to bring forward changes to support the unique nature of the farm and ranch business.
The proposed legislation fulfils the government’s commitment to consult with farmers and ranchers to build farm workplace legislation that works for them. The government is committed to restoring balance, fairness and common sense to the regulation of Alberta’s agriculture sector by repealing and replacing the previous government’s failed Bill 6 legislation.
“We promised Albertans we would consult first and legislate second – and that’s exactly what we did. We’ve taken this feedback and built common-sense farm workplace legislation that works for people, not against them.”Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
“Farmers asked for these changes to give us the flexibility to run our businesses and build a program collectively that works for everybody. This government has really listened to and responded to our concerns. Modern farms are highly safety-conscious operations and we take care of our farm workers like they are family.”Rhonda Mulligan, Tri M Farms
“In terms of the overall shape of the industry, consultation has been a critical feature of the new government for Bill 6 and the Farm Freedom and Safety Act. We didn’t have that under the previous government in 2015 when those changes were rolled out. We are very encouraged and optimistic about the future shape of farm safety legislation in Alberta.”Tom Steve, Alberta Wheat and Barley Commission/general manager of Alberta Barley
“The greenhouse industry is very thankful to the Government of Alberta and, in particular, to Minister Dreeshen for his support in recognizing greenhouses as farms. Being excluded from the definition of farms under the Employment Standards Code was a huge challenge for our industry and we are grateful that this has been rectified in the Farm Freedom and Safety Act.”Albert Cramer, president, Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association
Grassroots conversations, industry meetings, engagement sessions and an online survey were just some of the ways Alberta’s farmers and ranchers gave their input on practical farm workplace rules.
- From July 25 to Aug. 30, 25 engagement sessions on farm workplace legislation were held across the province.
- The public survey ran from July 12 to Aug. 31, with more than 1,200 completed submissions.
The new legislation addresses employment standards, workers’ compensation, occupational health and safety, labour relations laws and how they apply on farms and ranches.
Farm Freedom and Safety Act highlights
- Allows employers to have choice when it comes to workplace insurance.
- Protects family farms from legislated and regulatory cost increases.
- Ensures basic safety standards on all farms.
- Recognizes that a farm is unlike other businesses, and that farmers and ranchers require flexibility in meeting labour and employment standards.
- Delivers on government’s commitment to repeal the damaging policies of the previous government to ensure sustainable farms and help get Albertans back to work. Reinstates the farm and ranch sector exemption from the Labour Relations Code.
- Includes nursery, greenhouse, mushroom and sod operations in the farm and ranch employment standards exemptions.
- Minimizes red tape and reduces the regulatory burden on farmers and ranchers.