Alberta farmers ready to participate in occupational health and safety consultation
(Calgary, Alberta) Sept. 1, 2015 – As the future of farm safety policy takes shape, Alberta’s crop commissions, comprised of elected farmer representatives, are ready and willing to contribute to the discussion.
“Alberta’s crop commissions look forward to working with the Government of Alberta on this critical issue,” said Alberta Barley chairman Mike Ammeter. “Our farmers take the safety of our families and our workers very seriously and have much to contribute to this discussion.”
The Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour has indicated that removing the agriculture exemption from The Occupational Health and Safety Act is a priority. Currently Alberta is the only province in the country where agriculture is not included in occupational health and safety legislation, which could potentially jeopardize Canada’s position in international trade agreements.
As far as measures that go above and beyond removal of the exemption, Alberta’s crop commissions believe that consultation with the agriculture sector is necessary to ensure a successful outcome for farmers and farm workers.
“We believe that accident and fatality investigations should be in place to collect all possible information so that we can work towards the most inclusive and effective on-farm education and training,” said Alberta Canola Producers Commission chairman Lee Markert. “However, we also need time to consider any additional safety measures and how it could affect the multitude of varying operations in agriculture.”
With an emphasis on seasonal labour and family-run operations, Alberta farms are unlike any other workplace in the province. As noted by Labour Minister Lori Sigurdson in the Calgary Herald on Aug. 21, any safety measures should reflect that diversity and take into account the people who live it every day.
“As is the case with every safety measure, we believe that education and training are the most critical aspects of developing a program that will work,” said Alberta Pulse Growers Commission chair Allison Ammeter. “Farmers are the subject matter experts on what will be most effective for their farm, and we look forward to sharing that expertise with the Government of Alberta.”
“This is a unique opportunity for farmers and government to work together to share in the development of farm safety policy,” added Alberta Wheat Commission chair Kent Erickson.
The provincial commissions are eager to reiterate their member’s dedication to good stewardship of the land and the safety of all farm workers. The Alberta barley, canola, pulse and wheat commissions represent the vast majority of farmers that grow these crops throughout the province.
For more information, contact:
Communications and Marketing Manager
Alberta Canola Producers Commission
Alberta Pulse Growers Commission
Alberta Wheat Commission