New information on fatalities demonstrates need for controversial farm worker law, says AFL

Deaths wouldn't have been reported and investigated under old system

EDMONTON -- New information on fatalities on Alberta farms demonstrates that the provincial government's controversial new farm worker law was needed and is working, say the Alberta Federation of Labour.

The Alberta Government’s update on Workplace Incident Fatalities Investigations in 2016 shows that as of May 3, there were two fatalities at agricultural work places being investigated.

“Without the changes to farm worker safety legislation, neither of these fatality investigations would be occurring,” said Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour, “before January 1st, families would have been left without answers, and no recommendations would have been made on how to improve safety on the work site for future employees.”

Workplace incident fatalities are cases where a worker dies at a work site, or as a result of injuries sustained at the work site. As of January 1st, such fatalities in agricultural work places are now investigated by Occupational Health and Safety. 

The new farm worker law also extends WCB coverage to paid agricultural workers, something that was denied to them under the old rules.

“Since agricultural workers have been covered under WCB there have already been over 150 successful WCB claims from farm and ranch workers,” said McGowan, “the positive impact we are already seeing for workers because of the changes to farm worker law demonstrate why it’s important that the government is moving forward on consultations to implement the rest of the act.”

On May 20th the government announced they are moving forward with six working groups, which include representatives from the agricultural sector, labour groups, and technical experts. The AFL looks forward to participating in this consultation process as the working groups move forward on developing recommendations on how employment standards, occupational health and safety, and labour relations requirements should be applied to farm and ranch workers in Alberta.

“It’s long past time that Alberta farm and ranch workers finally experience the same workplace protections that farm and ranch workers in every other province in Canada already have,” concluded McGowan.


Government of Alberta Workplace Incident Fatalities Investigated as of May 3, 2016:


Chris Gallaway, Director Government Relations, Alberta Federation of Labour at

587.984.7569 (cell) or via e-mail    

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  • commented 2016-06-06 18:23:59 -0600
    So what you are implying is that deaths on farms were not investigated before January? Just different investigators people, lets now make this sound like farming in Alberta was the wild west before the NDP “saved” us!