Farm and Ranch workplace legislation

Workplace legislation regarding waged, non-family farm workers.

Services and information

Employment standards for those working in agriculture.

Labour relations coverage was extended to agriculture workers following broad consultation with the industry.

Waged, non-family farm and ranch workers are protected under basic safety standards. Industry-specific rules come into effect Dec. 1, 2018.

WCB coverage was extended to farm and ranch operations with non-family paid employees as of January 1, 2016.


The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act came into effect on Jan. 1, 2016 to extend workplace legislation to farms and ranches.

The new rules only apply to farm and ranch operations that employ paid workers. They don't apply to owners or their family members.

What changed

Key changes for farms and ranches with waged, non-family workers include:

  • Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) basic safety standards apply to waged, non-family workers while they're onsite as of Jan. 1, 2016:
    • employers must take reasonable steps to provide a safe and healthy workplace
    • workers will be able to refuse unsafe work that presents an imminent danger
    • OHS will be able to investigate serious injuries and fatalities
  • Detailed OHS technical rules specific to the farm and ranch industry come into effect on Dec. 1, 2018.
  • Employment Standards rules and exemptions specific to waged, non-family workers came into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
  • Labour Relations coverage to allow waged, non-family workers the right to form unions, bargain collectively and take legal job action came into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Who’s affected

Alberta farm and ranch producers with waged workers who are not the owner or related to the owner will be affected by the legislation.

This means family members can still participate in farming operations as they always have, and neighbours can still volunteer to help each other out.

Who’s not affected:

  • farm families who do not have any waged workers
  • unpaid farm and ranch workers, such as relatives, friends and neighbours helping out on the family farm
  • children doing chores or participating in 4-H

The Act also doesn't apply to recreational activities, such as hunting on farmland.


Six technical working groups were established to review the application of workplace legislation in the agriculture industry and regulations in other provinces. Their recommendations informed the detailed regulations that reflect the unique aspects of the industry.


For information on farm and ranch legislation:

Toll-free: 1-877-427-3731
Edmonton area: 780-427-3731

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Employment Standards changes

Occupational Health and Safety changes

Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act