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Alberta amends farm safety bill to confirm families will be excluded

| www.cos-mag.com

Amendments to Alberta's Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act confirm the government’s intent to exclude farm and ranch owners, and their families, from Occupational Health and Safety and mandatory Workers’ Compensation Board coverage.

“Across Alberta, we have heard farming and ranching families’ concerns. We know that farming in Alberta is more than a business, it is a way of life. It has always been our intention to preserve that way of life. The amendments explicitly exclude owners of farming or ranching operations, and their family members, from the mandatory application of WCB and OHS rules," said Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Lori Sigurdson. "We are also introducing amendments to assure Albertans that neighbours can still volunteer to help each other out, without being subject to the new rules.”

The provisions for family members and non-waged individuals in the amendments were to be set out in regulations. Public concerns about whether OHS rules and WCB coverage applied to family operations required that they be stated within the act itself for greater clarity and certainty.

“Families will be able to teach their children the farming and ranching way of life, as they always have, and neighbours will be able to volunteer to help each other out in times of need, as they always have," said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier.

Only where non-owner or non-family waged individuals are involved in a farm or ranch operation will WCB and OHS apply to the operation, and only to those non-owner and non-family waged individuals.

If waged individuals are owners or family members of owners, the application of WCB and OHS will be excluded as it pertains to those individuals.

In all cases, farm and ranch families may elect to choose WCB coverage for waged owners, waged family members and unwaged neighbours and friends.

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