AFL applauds inclusion of Alberta's agricultural sector in workplace laws

“The inclusion of agricultural workers in Alberta’s workplace laws is a victory for all workers”

Edmonton – Alberta's largest labour organization is celebrating the comprehensive inclusion of agricultural workers and workplaces in the province’s laws governing safety, workplace standards, labour standards, minimum wages, and workers’ compensation.

Under legislation introduced today by Premier Rachel Notley, Alberta’s agricultural businesses will be forced to comply with the same laws and legislations that govern all other businesses in the province, including Alberta’s Occupational Health & Safety Act, Traffic Safety Act, Workers’ Compensation Act, and Labour Code.

“When one worker is denied their rights, it undermines the rights of all workers. So the inclusion of agricultural workers in Alberta’s workplace laws is a victory for all workers,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “These reforms will mean workers are less likely to be exploited. These reforms will mean fewer workers will lose their lives unnecessarily.  Workers who are injured won’t be denied compensation. And the events that lead to injuries will be investigated so we can learn from mistakes.”

Because the bill is being proclaimed in stages, the fine details of the regulations will be determined over the course of several months.

“The farmworkers, health experts and labour activists who have spent decades fighting for these changes cannot rest on their laurels with this announcement,” McGowan said. “The devil is in the details, and during this process, we will remain vigilant to ensure that the regulations are watertight.”

More than 50,000 Albertans work in the agricultural sector. They account for 2.6 per cent of our workforce — and until this legislation was introduced, they had few legal protections in their workplace. One in five agricultural workers in Alberta work at worksites with more than 20 employees.

“Agricultural work is dangerous work. And now Alberta’s laws will reflect that reality,” McGowan said. “We’ve heard talk and rhetoric and promises on this issue from so many Tory premiers and ministers over the years, but there has never been action until the province voted for something new.”

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell)
or via e-mail orokne@afl.org

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