Farm Workers Day 2015 - yet another year farm workers denied basic workers’ rights
It’s time for government to act.
EDMONTON - As Alberta marks the province’s eleventh annual Farm Workers Day, Alberta remains the only place in Canada that excludes agriculture workers from employment standards, health and safety legislation and the right to unionize.
“The people who work in Alberta’s vibrant agricultural sector deserve the same protections as any other Albertan,” AFL acting President Siobhan Vipond said. “It’s an exception from the rules that dates back to 1943 and it doesn’t make sense in our current reality. Farming is an industry dominated by huge corporations operating massive hog barns, corporate farms and mushroom factories, employing hundreds of workers. It is time to end this unfair, unjust and callous disregard of the well-being of agricultural workers.”
Agricultural workers are exempt from most of the basic employment protections all other Albertans take for granted. These workers have:
- No basic employment protections, such as minimum wage, limits on hours of work, rest breaks, overtime or statutory holiday pay;
- No health and safety protection ;
- No WCB when they get injured; and
- No right to unionize.
The AFL continues to urge the inclusion of all workers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Workers’ Compensation Act as the only equitable course of action. In 2008, after investigating the workplace death of Kevan Chandler, Justice Peter Barley recommended that farm workers be included in Alberta’s legislation to prevent future workplace injuries and deaths.
Justice Barley, wrote in his report, “No logical explanation was given as to why paid employees on a farm are not covered by the same workplace legislation as non-farm employees.”
“We have a long history of promises made and broken in this province,” Vipond said. “The exclusion of these workers doesn’t happen anywhere else in Canada – or in most G7 nations. The new Notley government should move on this issue now.”
Siobhan Vipond, Acting AFL President at 780.868.7379 (cell) or via email firstname.lastname@example.org