Our government has initiated comprehensive consultations with farmers, ranchers, agriculture workers, and others as we move forward with the new proposed Farm Freedom and Safety Act.
The new legislation will address:
• Ensuring basic safety standards.
• Recognizing that a farm is unlike other businesses, and that farmers and ranchers require flexibility in meeting workplace standards.
• Minimizing red tape and the regulatory burden on farmers and ranchers.
• Requiring employers to have workplace insurance, but allowing a choice of market insurance or the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) as long as basic standards of coverage are met.
• Exempting small farms from employment standards legislation.
We are committed to restoring balance, fairness and common sense to the regulation of Alberta’s agriculture sector. Farm and ranch operations have unique needs that are unlike other industries. We need legislation that balances the unique economic pressures of farming with the need for common sense, flexible farm safety and employment legislation.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is leading a range of stakeholder consultation opportunities throughout the summer. Watch for Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen at events in our community, and take that opportunity to connect with him and share your opinion.
A survey on Farm Freedom and Safety is available online at Alberta.ca until the end of the summer and I encourage you to provide your input. The survey is online at alberta.ca/farm-safety-engagement.
If you have any questions or would like to provide input into this important legislation, feel free to contact me at the Drayton Valley constituency office, 5136B – 52 Ave, 780-542-3355, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I appreciate your support as we move forward with another government promise that is meaningful and essential to so many of our friends and neighbours.
Mark Smith is MLA for the Drayton Valley-Devon constituency and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.