February 11, 2016 7:22 pm

Alberta government looks for experts to help develop Bill 6 regulations

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

Craig Hooper / Global News
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EDMONTON — The Alberta Government is looking for people who will be part of developing the regulations on its farm safety bill, Bill 6.

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While the legislation has already passed, the government is looking for people to develop recommendations on how employment standards, occupational health and safety and labour relations requirements should be applied to the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act.

“We need to hear from as many groups as possible, as we can, to have the best advice we can, the best suggestions we can as we go through the process and come to the point where we need to start writing the regulations,” Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier said.

Six groups of 10 to 12 people will be created to do the work; four groups will consult on occupational health and safety, and one group each will consult on labour relations and employment standards. Each group will be chaired by an independent person not affiliated with the government.

The government is asking for representatives from the agricultural sector, labour groups, and technical experts to be part of the process. Nominations can be submitted online until Feb. 26.

“Farming is more than a job, it’s a way of life, and this government recognizes that. These technical working groups will provide an opportunity for a broad and diverse range of voices from the farming and ranching sector to ensure their way of life is preserved, while at the same time ensuring waged workers come home safely at the end of each day,” Carlier said.

READ MORE: ‘We’re listening’: Alberta government takes to the airwaves to promote Bill 6

The minister hopes to begin consultation in mid-March. At this point it’s not known how long the process will last.

“We’re going to take as long as necessary to get it right,” Carlier said. “We do have some deadlines to keep people on task, but we’re going to take a lot of advice from these technical working groups on where they’re at in their processes in order to guide us the best.

“We’re not going to rush things. We’re going to take the time it takes to get it right.”

Bill 6 passed at the beginning of December despite much push back from Alberta farmers and ranchers who said the legislation would threaten their way of life.

The bill will bring workers’ compensation benefits and health and safety rules to paid workers on farms but farmers argue that it will bury their operations in red tape and damage the fabric of rural life.

READ MORE: Bill 6 passes third reading after heated debate

Nomination forms and more information on the process can be found on the government’s website.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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