Team Alberta welcomes Farm Freedom and Safety Act
Team Alberta welcomes yesterday’s announcement that Bill 26, the Farm Freedom and Safety Act was tabled yesterday afternoon. After extensive consultation with farmers, the Government of Alberta is focusing on education over legislation when it comes to farm and ranch safety.
The new Farm Freedom and Safety Act replaces the contentious Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act and amends other workplace legislation.
Team Alberta commends Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen and Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction Grant Hunter on implementing what they heard from farmers during the consultations, and creating a new common sense and flexible farm safety regime.
While small farms and ranch operations will be exempt from certain workplace requirements, Team Alberta says that the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act will remain as a strong baseline of safety standards while reducing burdensome regulatory requirements that often don’t apply to small farms. The focus on education and best management practices will help address labour shortages and other regulatory requirements that don’t improve safety practices.
Farmers looking for further farm safety management tools are encouraged to contact AgSafe Alberta. This industry-led organization develops and delivers safety resources and programs for Alberta farmers and ranchers. The goal is to help farming operations establish practical farm safety management systems and best management practices to enhance a culture of safety, where safety is a fully-integrated part of the farm.
“Safety has always been a top priority for farmers. We are pleased to see a change to manageable farm safety legislation.”
– Don Shepert, Alberta Pulse Growers Chair
“Throughout the consultation period, our commissions encouraged farmers to share their perspectives at meetings held across Alberta. Today’s actions shows the government’s willingness to listen and make things better for Albertans.”
– John Guelly, Alberta Canola Chair
“We appreciate the government’s recognition that operating a farm business is unique, and with that comes its own unique needs. The new legislation will allow for more flexibility while maintaining safety standards.”
– Hannah Konschuh, Alberta Wheat Commission Co-Chair
“Today’s news is a clear indicator of that agriculture is a vital contributor to our economy. We look forward to further reviewing the legislation and communicating the details to farmers.”
– Dave Bishop, Alberta Barley Chair