January 19, 2016 7:18 pm
Updated: January 19, 2016 7:23 pm

Bill 6 consultation model still being worked out by NDP government

About 20 vehicles parked alongside Alberta's Highway 2 on Nov. 30, 2015 to protest Bill 6.

Craig Hooper / Global News

Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier says he hopes stakeholder meetings into the contentious Bill 6 will begin by the end of February.

The meetings will consist of six working groups, four will focus on OHS, the other two on labour relations and employment standards.

“We’re looking at maybe 10 to 12 people per table,” Carlier said Tuesday morning when asked what representation will look like in the working groups.

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“We’re looking at representation from industry, from the farm and ranch community, from labour groups and from the workers themselves.”

Several large demonstrations were held across Alberta in late November and early December after the government introduced the legislation which mandated Occupational Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation for all paid farm and ranch workers in the province effective Jan. 1. Many farmers and ranchers at the protests felt these rules were being put in place without proper input.

READ MORE: Farmer combines, tractors line Alberta’s Highway 2 to protest Bill 6

Industry groups will be asked to canvass their memberships for people willing to sit on one of the working groups, and the government is considering further options for public input.

“We’ll throw our net out as broad as we can on a further consultation process,” Carlier said. “Whether that is by an internet survey or something more direct, getting that input from the grassroots farmer as well.”

While OHS now applies to Alberta farms and ranches, the specific regulations will be worked out through this process and introduced in 2017.

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