While the government has asked for input from Albertans on how provincial labour laws could apply to farm and ranches, MLA Rick Strankman, has concerns about the process.
On March 6, the Alberta government put a call out to Albertans to provide input into the contentious legislation.
In May of last year, the government formed six working groups to develop recommendations on how employment standards, labour relations and Occupations Health and Safety (OH&S) requirements could be applied to the agriculture industries.
Two of those technical working groups; one on Employment Standards and one on Labour Relations have submitted their reports and they are available for public scrutiny and feedback.
One of the concerns that MLA Strankman has is that the committees themselves did not have majority representation from the agriculture industry.
‘There are only two of them reporting, of the six,” he said. “Dave Schneider, the new Agriculture and Forestry Critic did ask a question on how they were going to be coming forward with that.
“If the input they receive is not necessarily to the government’s liking, how will they adjudicate the results they got, or will they just go ahead and do whatever the heck they want.”
“We are wondering whether the input will be heard.
He said despite this, he encourages people to look at the recommendations.
“You have to encourage people to try. We won’t know until the results are public,” he said
He adds that because the government is asking for input from Albertans, many who are not directly involved in the agriculture can respond.
The other four working groups, including two reviewing existing requirement and exceptions of OH&S, as well as OH&S best practices for agriculture, and OH&S on education training and certifications are expected to report in the near future. The government will begin drafting legislative amendments based on the public feedback it receives.
Strankman says the OH&S recommendations may be the most contentious parts.
“That will probably be the most onerous one,” he said.