Farm and Ranch workplace legislation
Workplace legislation regarding waged, non-family farm workers.
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.
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.
- Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) insurance coverage is required for waged, non-family workers.
- 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.
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.
Why changes were needed
The Act brought protection and compensation of non-family farm and ranch workers in line with what's already extended to other employees and is similar to what's in place in other provinces, where family farms continue to thrive.
Legislation can make a difference. Since laws to protect farm and ranch workers were introduced in British Columbia, the:
- farm fatality rate was reduced by 68%
- farm injury rate was reduced by 52%
- serious injury rate was reduced by 41%
We can make workplaces safer.
We consulted with farmers, ranchers and industry representatives to ensure we found the right balance between safety and the unique needs of the farm and ranch industry.
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.
- Modernized rules increase farm worker protection (June 27, 2018)
- Workplace legislation changes (May 24, 2017)
- Help shape farm and ranch labour legislation (Mar 6, 2017)
- Working Groups selected for farm and ranch consultations (May 20, 2016)
- Amendments confirm farm and ranch families will be excluded from new rules (Dec 7, 2015)
For information on farm and ranch legislation:
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