Almost 10 thousand people across Alberta have signed a petition against the provincial government’s new farm safety legislation.
If Bill 6 is passed into law, Alberta farm and ranch workers would no longer be excluded from occupational health and safety protection, which is a right already held by agricultural employees in every other province in Canada.
Eric Musekamp, president of the farm workers union of Alberta, wants to see the Bill put to action but says he is not surprised by the backlash.
Musekamp believes most of the opposition to the bill is coming from the family farm and non-paid workers solely because they don’t want to give up control over smaller farms and properties.
He has heard complaints from these farmers that they fear government bureaucrats are going to meddle in their lives and affairs.
The increased protection for farm and ranch workers act would also force the agricultural sector to provide minimum wage, vacation pay and worker compensation board coverage.
With so many signatures there is strong hope from the smaller farms that the Bill will be delayed to focus on making adjustments to the family farm part of the Bill.
Musekamp and his union believe the Bill is an important and necessary step towards having safer farms within the province.