AFL urges Premier to remain steadfast on commitment to protect farm workers
Status quo with respect to farm safety is simply not good enough, writes McGowan
EDMONTON – Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, today urged Premier Redford to remain steadfast in her commitment to protect farm workers under provincial health and safety legislation.
"I commend you for declaring your intention during your campaign for leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party that, as Premier, you would protect farm workers by including them in our province's health and safety legislation," writes McGowan. "I hope, as I know the families of farm workers killed on the job hope, that you remain dedicated to this objective."
McGowan's letter (view here) was prompted by a leaked draft report from the Farm Safety Advisory Council which recommended that farm workers remain excluded from the provinces health and safety legislation.
McGowan points out that unlike other Alberta workers, farm workers are completely exempt from the Labour Relations Code, mandatory Workers Compensation Board coverage, most provisions in the Employment Standards Code, and are only covered by Occupational Health and Safety Act in mushroom factories, greenhouses, nurseries and sod farms - all other farm workers are excluded, including those working in hog barns, feed lots, and other large operations.
"Maintaining the status quo with respect to farm safety is simply not good enough," writes McGowan. "As the number of farms in Alberta declines – both family farms and corporate farms – farm fatalities remain stubbornly high, meaning farming is more dangerous now than it has been in recent memory. I fear that the continued exclusion of farm workers from Alberta's health and safety laws will allow this woeful and tragic trend to continue."
MEDIA CONTACT: Gil McGowan, AFL President, 780-218-9888