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Alberta labour minister grilled on farm worker protection laws

By The Canadian Press
| www.cos-mag.com

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — Alberta's human services minister fielded a flurry of heated questions from a farm labour advocate during a luncheon speaking engagement in southern Alberta.

Dave Hancock had just finished a news conference after addressing the Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce when Eric Musekamp, president of the Farmworkers Union of Alberta, asked the minister when the province would improve protections for migrant farm workers and put in place age restrictions.

Musekamp said that he's worked beside children as young as eight near his home in Bow Island.

He charged that the province allows farmers to employ young children without any standards, safety or otherwise.

In August, Liberal Member of Legislative Assembly David Swann raised the issue by suggesting that multinational corporations like Frito Lay boycott Alberta potatoes until legislation is rewritten to give farm workers access to workers' compensation insurance and protection under the Occupational Health Safety Act.

Hancock told reporters that such legislation won't be coming in the upcoming legislative session.

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