Status: Bill 26 received royal assent on December 5, 2019
Ministry responsible: Agriculture and Forestry

Overview

Bill 26: the Farm Freedom and Safety Act addresses how employment standards, workers’ compensation, labour relations, and occupational health and safety laws apply to farms and ranches.

The bill was developed following extensive consultation with farmers, ranchers and workers. It recognizes that farms are unlike other businesses and need more flexibility to balance the unique economic pressures of farming with the need for a common-sense farm safety regime.

Key changes

Bill 26 will repeal the Enhanced Protection for Farms and Ranch Workers Act, commonly referred to as Bill 6, and replace it with practical workplace rules.

Employment standards

  • Farms and ranches with 5 or fewer employees, not including family members, and employees who work less than 6 months consecutively will be exempt from all employment standards.
  • Farms and ranches with more than 5 waged, non-family employees will still be required to meet employment standards, with some exemptions.
  • Include nursery, greenhouse, mushroom and sod in the definition of farms and ranches.

Labour relations

  • Farms and ranches will be exempt from the Labour Relations Code.

Occupational health and safety

  • Farms and ranches with waged, non-family workers will still be required to meet basic safety standards under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Workers’ compensation

  • Farms and ranches with more than 5 waged, non-family employees will be required to have workplace insurance, but will be able to choose which workplace insurance option works best for their operation (WCB or private).

Next steps

  • labour relations changes take effect on November 20, 2019
  • insurance changes would take effect on January 31, 2020
  • other changes would take effect on January 31, 2020

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