Alberta to Adopt OHS for Agricultural Workers
Edmonton – The inclusion of agricultural workers in Alberta’s workplace standards is cause for celebration – but advocates for reform cannot rest on their laurels.
Alberta is the only province in Canada that excludes agricultural workers from occupational health and safety laws. But Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier announced this summer that he would make safety protections for Alberta farm workers a reality.
“We’ve been working toward this for a very long time,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “But health and safety laws are not the end of the story. Agricultural workers deserve to be treated like every other worker, so their exclusions from WCB, from transportation regulations, and from the right to unionize, must be ended across the board.”
The provincial labour code excludes Agricultural workers from the right to form unions, or to collectively bargain. So when issues arise with the employer, again agricultural workers have little recourse.
“Agricultural work is dangerous work. These workers need the right to stand up for themselves, and to fight for better working conditions,” McGowan said. “Do you think any of these other regulatory issues would have gone unaddressed as long if agricultural workers weren’t denied their legal right to form a union, and to fight for safer workplaces?”