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Bill 6: Alberta says 6 task forces will craft farm safety rules starting in June

Notley government passes controversial farm legislation
WATCH ABOVE: In spite of protests from farm groups, the NDP government passed Bill 6, its controversial farm legislation and will now be asking for input on regulations. Fletcher Kent reports.

Alberta’s agriculture minister says he hopes to get going as soon as next month on a process to craft the regulations that will underpin the new farm safety law, Bill 6.

Oneil Carlier, speaking to reporters Tuesday, said the plan is to have six working groups composed of industry experts and front-line farmers and ranchers.

READ MORE: Cheering crowds to furious farmers – Some key events in Alberta NDP’s 1st year

Carlier said they will help guide the process as the province drafts rules in the areas of occupational health and safety, labour relations and employment standards.

Watch below: A selection of Global’s coverage on Bill 6

Carlier said he is reaching out to industry groups now to see if they can assist on finding the best people.

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READ MORE: Alberta government looks for experts to help develop Bill 6 regulations

There would be between 10 and 12 members for each of the six groups.

“We’re looking to have a very broad cross-representation from farming and ranching stakeholder groups as well as from labourers and workers themselves,” said Carlier.

He said the hope is to get the groups organized by mid-February.

"It's still a work in progress," he said.

The new law gives workers compensation benefits to paid farm workers injured on the job effective Jan. 1 of this year.

It also puts farms under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Farms must meet a basic standard of care until specific rules and regulations are hashed out in the next year to 18 months.

READ MORE: Alberta Beef Producers meeting in Red Deer to develop Bill 6 strategy

The farm safety bill passed late last year against a backdrop of angry protests from farmers.

Alberta was the only jurisdiction in Canada without employment standards coverage for farm and ranch workers and one of the few without WCB coverage when the NDP government introduced the legislation last fall.

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Opponents have said they are concerned the regulations will cripple family farms with too much red tape or will have blanket regulations that are unworkable and unadaptable to farm operations.

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

The opposition Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties have said the legislation moved too far too fast in the house and that more discussion was needed.

Some farmers have said they fear the legislation will not only destroy the profitability of their operations but also prevent moms and dads from passing the farm culture on to their children.

Premier Rachel Notley has stressed the legislation does not apply to family members and that the farm tradition will not be endangered.

READ MORE – ‘Rachel Notley has to go’: Hundreds rally outside Alberta Legislature