Bill 6 and the End of the Family Farm


The provincial NDP government in Alberta is taking serious steps to implementing Occupational Health and Safety laws on family farms in Alberta. This is a disastrous decision that affects 98% of all farms in the province.


Farms do not fall under the umbrella of small businesses, large business, corporations, partnerships or any other business type. They fall under the category of lifestyle. Unfortunately for the farmers of Alberta, this lifestyle also happens to be a business. Bill 6, which will end the exemption of farms and ranches in Alberta from OHS, will also impact the lifestyle of thousands of Alberta’s families.

The premier does not seem to understand that farms operate under very, very different conditions than any other business, small or large. There is no such thing as an 8 hour work day or a 40 hour work week. There is no such thing as “do it tomorrow, wait for the snow to stop, the rain to dry up.”

Farming and Ranching in Alberta is dependent on weather, to an extent which is almost incomparable in any other industry. Almost all of the work done in agriculture revolves around weather. Farmers cannot quit planting, spraying, haying, baling, combining, stacking, fencing, calving, lambing, milking or feeding when their OHS 8 hour workday is over. The weather is coming, and the work needs to be done. It is not unheard of for farmers to put in 20, 25, and 30 hour days during peak times of the year so that their crops and their livestock are safely planted, safely harvested, safely fed, safely born, to ensure that the farm will have an income. OHS does not take into account the exceptional conditions that farmers work under, and farmers cannot be expected to adhere to arbitrary rules when the profits of their farm may be laying in a field or freezing in a snowbank.

The premier also does not seem to understand that 98% of farms are owned and operated by families, who also live on the land they use for their income. Family is perhaps the greatest and most sacred area of life for any person. OHS would enact laws that dictate how, when, and where children of farmers can be taught to work on the farm. This is, at the surface, an attempt to keep children safe on the farm, a noble cause, no argument. However, in reality, it affects the manner in which the family can prepare the next generation to take over the keys to the farm. Children may not know how or have been allowed to operate equipment before it becomes necessary for them to do it, under OHS law. The motto of 4-H Alberta, a youth agricultural program which encourages agricultural education, is “Learn to do by doing.” How can children learn to drive tractor, move cows, birth calves, plant seed, bale hay, or do any other farm chore, if the Alberta government won’t allow their parents to teach them?  Again, at its most basic, this portion of the law is respectable, but the implications interfere with the family unit, which is an untouchable area for governments for a multitude of reasons.

OHS does not take into account that a great deal of the work that is done in agriculture is done in a community-oriented fashion. My neighbour, under OHS law, would need to be compensated for any time they might spend helping me move cattle, fix fence, or bring in the barley. In return, they would need to provide coverage for me when I reciprocate the favour. How does this work? Who is going to pay for it? The farmer certainly cannot afford to cover community volunteerism! The culture of agricultural communities has been completely overlooked by the provincial NDP, and it is liable to be completely destroyed if Bill 6 passes un-amended.

Finally, as with all legislation passed by NDP governments across the country, who will pay for the new government workers required to process several tens of thousands of new OHS files that this bill will create? Who will compensate the additional inspectors required to cover literally every square mile of Alberta, looking for violations, on those several tens of thousands of new OHS sites? The taxpayer, the farmer, the rancher. Not only will Bill 6 severely damage a culture, thousands of farming families, and the agricultural industry in Alberta, it will cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions, every year in wages, travel costs (farms are very far apart) and vacation time for these new government employees.

Premier Notley, this Bill is a disaster in the making. Rather than rushing it through legislature with no industry consultation, ask the families of the farms and ranches in Alberta who will be severely affected what they would like to see. I know we all want safer farms, fewer accidents, and no deaths, but help us achieve that with educational programs in rural schools, and programs to help farmers cope with demanding hours. Don’t subject an entire industry, which literally feeds the rest of Alberta, to rules which will effectively destroy family structures and businesses all over the province.

63 comments on “Bill 6 and the End of the Family Farm

  1. Annie says:

    This bill was in progress before the NDP came into power.

    Perhaps you could clarify some things.

    The Edmonton Journal had an article on this.

    “The new legislation will mean farmers and ranchers must provide safe work conditions and training to everyone doing any commercial work — not regular farm chores”
    – how is this a bad thing?

    “The proposed bill will require Alberta’s 43,000 farms and ranches to purchase mandatory insurance coverage to protect workers if they’re injured on the job, and protect the operation if the farmer is sued. Until now, farmers could opt out, leaving approximately 60,000 workers without pay or access to health or physiotherapy benefits to get them back on the job.”
    – again, how is this a bad thing?

    Why would you choose to not have pay, or benefits, for you or your employees? I am certain that most of us know someone who was injured on a farm. Most of us have that story about someone who was killed on a farm. Most of us know someone who was killed, and they didn’t have insurance, and their families either had to sell the farm, or really struggle.
    – if this legislation can prevent some of that, how is that a bad thing?

    “while farmers and ranchers need to follow occupational health and safety regulations starting Jan. 1, they will be given time to learn the rules, train their employees and come up to speed. ”
    – that seems fair, doesn’t it?

    “Under the proposed changes to various bodies of legislation, workers will have the right to refuse unsafe work without fear of being fired.”
    – how is that not fair to the employer?

    “Provincial investigators will be able to enter a farm site to do safety inspections and impose penalties.”
    – realistically, do you think that the government has the time, the money, or the inclination to inspect every farm? They don’t inspect every workplace – ever. I strongly suspect that if there are chronic complaints, or numerous injuries, that is when inspections will take place, just like in any other workplace.

    “Workers will be able to join unions and bargain for wages, and they will be paid minimum wage, overtime and vacation pay. Such labour rights and employment standards will be hashed out for spring 2016 with room for some finagling.”

    Further comments in other articles state that, for example, calving season doesn’t recognise holidays – you can’t get your cows to not calve on a holiday, so they are working on concessions for that. That seems fair.

    A CBC news article states “Right now, less than five per cent of the province’s 40,000 farms and ranches carry the (insurance) coverage.
    It goes on to state ” For full-time employee earning $50,000 a year, it can cost anywhere between $850 and $1,450.”
    (link: )

    If we break that down, for each employee, at the highest rate of $1450, that works out to $27.88/week, or less than $4/day.
    Is that really too much to pay, when you compare it to the cost of you, or one of your employees being injured and unable to work? The costs of healthcare, physiotherapy, perhaps needing prosthetics?

    So, specifically, how is it really going to affect your operation?

    From a day to day standpoint, how is it going to affect you? I suspect, for the majority of operators, it really won’t.

    How is it really going to affect your cash flow? Is that $27.88/week/full time employee backbreaking?

    I can see where yeah, it is just one more rule to follow – but that is one of the not-so-joys of business.

    But for those who are against this legislation? Why? Specifically – cash flow? training? Or is it merely that you do not want another regulation to follow?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Larry Laugkin says:

      Annie I think you and your kind are missing the point of our problems with this proposed legislation.

      As an operator of a family farm and ranch with my parents,wife and young family I have several concerns.

      Firstly on the WCB issue we have always carried coverage for full-time employees for the very reasons you stated. My issue will be the problems with having coverage for family and neighbours and friend who all pitch in and help in the busy seasons of harvest,calving,branding and weaning.

      Notley’s crew think they are championing the plight of the down-trodden farm workers. The NDP are so out of touch with any community outside of a city limit that they think there will be hordes of farm workers unionizing and becoming lifetime card carrying members of the NDP. I think they may be disappointed to find out that perhaps aside from a handful of large corporate type farm operations, most farm workers have chose to live in rural communities because they also love the lifestyle And they have similar views on the world as what the NDP would describe as their oppressive employers.

      My biggest concern is the effect of this short-sighted legislation on my children. The proposed OHS regulation could have long-standing ramifications for our way of life. So much of this legislation is a knee-jerk reaction to recent tragic events on an Alberta farm. The NDP and the inevitable horde of bureaucrats which will be required to police this do not have the faintest clue what makes our family farms work. They do not realize that while these farms are our business they are also our homes. The reality is the whole farm is our home not just the building with four walls and the beds. When government beuracrats arbitrarily set an age and decided which government approved training programs my children need before they can pitch in around the home we live in and the lifestyle they love there is a problem. These social experiments will likely backfire when parents are hesitant to involve their children and as a result the children will not be safely trained. Our children are immersed in our way of life from the day they are born. They work alongside the older generations and learn all aspects of the business as well as the safest way to do things. There are inherent dangers to having children around places of business but a government bureaucrat from Edmonton arbitrarily deciding what age my children can be involved will not prevent tragedies. This will only serve to make families hesitant to properly train the younger generations. This is another example of left wing ideology put in place by people who have no understanding or connection with the people they think they are protecting.


      • Cameron says:


        Many of the items you bring up are the good things that will come of this bill. No one deserves to work without the proper protection and insurance to prevent lawsuits against both employer and employee.
        In reality, however, 98% of farms in the province are family farms, where most of the work is done by either immediate or extended family members incorporated under one or several business ventures. The key word here is Family, of course. Farms in this province are not large corporations, employing hundreds or thousands of people. They are homes, and families. Introducing certain aspects of this bill will certainly allow the government to pry into the lives of thousands and thousands of hardworking, honest-to-God, dirt-under-the-fingernails farm families. That is inappropriate, unnecessary involvement in the most sacred of private life. I would encourage you to also look through the post in this link:

        This bill will allow unprecedented access to farm families private matters, such as health, and will allow the government to control when, where, and how children can help their parents and learn from their parents on the farm.

        Like I said, the heart of this bill is in the right place. However, it was unasked for, unnecessary, and poses a real threat to farm families autonomy.


      • Frank says:

        You and your kind???


      • Kelly says:

        Good post Larry.mwritten by the common sense side of a farmer, rather than a climate change strategist like Annie.


      • straterpatrick says:


        Most of your concerns are inventions of the Wildrose who are desperately trying to hold on to the rural vote. I think in practice you’ll find this legislation helps family farms compete with larger industrial farms and will protect children and non-family workers from exploitation.

        We’d all do better to stop politicizing this and work for a balanced solution that will be a good fit for Alberta.

        Also, stereotyping civil servants as a “horde of bureaucrats” is the same as awful people calling farmers uneducated or “hill billies”. Name calling doesn’t help anyone, and we need to see everyone as a person. Most of whom are just trying their best.

        Thank you!


    • Angela look says:

      Having worked with WCB for my entire career on the employer side and having worked with them from an employee side, they are only out for themselves….which ever way works best for WCB. Also, I am trained in the field and the paperwork for them and OHS is atrocious. As a farmer/rancher, we don’t have time or inclination to keep necessary documents to appease the bureaucracy of that organization or government. Might as well move to a socialistic country like Russia. More rules than time!


      • Gr3g says:

        You know Russia isn’t socialist, right? And to say you don’t have time or inclination to keep records, is a poor excuse.


    • Del says:

      Anyone questioning the new legislation does not understand farming. Most people don’t. A complete waste of money, unfortunately. You nailed it, they will implement the bill and then never follow up. Will it help? Not a chance, will farmers find a way around it? You bet! Too bad it is coming out of tax payer dollars.


      • aggieolson says:

        Del, there are legitimately important aspects this bill covers, which are very important to the health and safety of the farming and ranching industry. However, the level of authority over family life this bill offers to the government is unacceptable. Inspectors will have the right to look through garages, family home offices, personal vehicles, and all the other farm building that serve more as a yard than a commercial area. Further, while it may be that farmers will find ways around the new laws, what is the point of a law no one follows? It’s like a speed limit of 80 on a road that everyone drives at 100. Simply setting up for fines and paperwork.
        Finally, while the farms may get around it, 4-H in this province will suffer if children are not allowed to handle or work with the projects and animals they are using to learn about essential life skills. 4-H on Parade will be a sad event, indeed, when the only steer projects in the barn belong to members over 18 years of age, and the only horses being ridden are by legal adults. The bill is noble in what it wants to do, but it must be amended to allow for the lifestyle it will affect!


    • Kent says:

      Annie, an unincorporated farm lives on the income it has left after all expenses are paid. You say its only 1400 per employee for WC, how about I take 1400 out of your income at the end of the year. That 1400 is 1400 some of us are not going to go home with. Great our employees get to unionize and get min wage, I dont even make min wage myself, who do I pass theses costs onto? I choose this occupation as a way of life, I am my own boss. People wo work for me work beacause of the lifestyle, not the wages. I cant afford to hire someone now, let alone pay them union wages. I will never deny an employee the right of refusal to work in unsafe conditions, If it is unsafe we will fix it. I dont need a law to tell me that. If I think I need insurance I will buy it, or my employee can buy it. Iknow to many people who were hurt
      Or have lost digits or limbs in our occupation, but I have never heard one complain, we look after each other in event of tragedy. I grew up with the 4H motto of learning to do by doing. Yes sometimes we need help getting started and we need help, but sometimes we just have to jump in and learn as we go.
      Your views dont surprise me, this is the typical view of someone who has never lived a rural lifestyle. By our comments, I am guessing you are a unionized employee who works in Human resources in a downtown office building int the big city.


    • I agree with you,no doubt the Conservatives are doing their best to turn voters against the they want badly to get back in power so the corporations can have their way again.Keep up the good work.The right wingers have the money and money is power and they want to be able to lord it over the underdog and keep themselves from being taxed too hard,gave them a towel to cry in while we can.


    • Marc says:

      Annie are you a safety professional I didn’t think so do you own or run a farm yeah I didn’t think so. Running this like a job site where you start at 8 and stop at 4 can’t be done and a Fricken union is the kast thing we need it a socialistic tool to trap every one in the same sinking boat.


    • Colin says:

      If you are a legitimate employee of a farm, the normal rules apply anyway. I know this because I worked for farmers for years without any issues that government was capable of fixing. This is normal government BS. Leak it out that you’re coming down hard, then pretend you’ve “listened” and are changing the proposal to make it less harsh, then you implement what you wanted in the first place. If you were paying attention, the complaints against this are not partisan. You assume that every farmer is a redneck conservative supporter? This measure is just bad. It’s the next step in a process to get large tracts of privately owned land under public control. To make it all “fair”. Thus it ever was.


      • You hit it on the head here Colin: no actual farmers and ranchers had an issue with this, only big government unionists who wanted more control over what those WRP rubes are doing out in the open land they fly over on their way back to Toronto on weekends.


    • The $27 is just insurance for one employee most farms barely make enough after all expenses to even call it a wage. There is a reason why the age of farmers is high because the children have had to work off the farm as the profits from farming will not support parents and children’s families I come from a farm and saw stats saying the average farmer was only clearing about $14000 after all expenses per year. So take away @27 per week per employee and then expect all equipment to meet ohs standards and 48000 farms becomes a couple thousand maybe initially a lot less later no farm can afford to have all areas up to ohs standard impossible it is simply impossible to eliminate the risks to ohs standard even if the govt gave a million to each farmer to upgrade thing to ohs i dont think it could be done.


    • F R Awde says:

      Spoken like a true socialist. The point made here is farming is NOT a business, it’s a farm. Different in every way. No more government regulations period. None needed. Farms have been fine for 100 years. Now the socialists think they should regulate everything. Go ahead and put it in, just another nail in the NDP coffin. 3 years and counting.


    • Raymond Blanchette says:

      Yes, legislation was being drafted by the Conservative government, but unlike this NDP government, which mostly consulted unions, the Conservatives were actually consulting actual producer (farmers and rancher) before bring the bill to the legislature. Their legislation, I am sure would have been way less draconian, and for the most part taken into consideration the uniqueness that farming and ranching are, as most are family farms, producing 98% of our food!


    • Tracy says:

      Then Notley should shut this Bill down then if it was in progress> She can do that now!!!


    • Carol Boehm says:

      Annie: I grew up on a mixed farm where we had to milk cows by hand, had beef cattle and horses to work with the cattle and for recreational use and mixed grain. Operating farm equipment can be taught but most farmer kids grow up learning how to operate the farm equipment. Parents take every precaution they can to ensure the kids know what to do and what not to do but humans are unpredictable. Anyone that works with livestock soon learns that it takes allot of time to learn how they react to different situations and all know they are unpredictable at best. You grow up knowing the risks and take them as a part of every day life. You learn at a young age to not try fix farm equipment unless it is turned off as the consequences are life threatening. You also learn that their are no 9 to 5 hours but get the work done no matter what as animals can’t wait until tomorrow, crops have to get in while the weather allows. Any farmer you ask will tell you that they know the risks and do their best to work as safely as possible so that accidents don’t occur. But that said anyone that goes to work on a farm should know the risks or not do the job as I said these large animals have a mind of their own and can be unpredictable. Furthermore, profit margins on a farm are dependent on markets and economy while expenses can be unpredictable governed on what happens on that farm. Sick livestock can kill profit margins fast, drought, rain at wrong time of year, etc. etc. Therefore to expect farms to operate under the same guide lines as the local Walmart for instance is completely irrational. The commercialized operations to my knowledge do have insurance etc. as they are just that commercial operations but the mom and pop operations are predominantly family operated with perhaps minimal seasonal help with little profit margin and they do it because it is all they know and they love the land, animals, lifestyle. Forcing them into a cookie cutter set of rules will make it impossible for them to remain sustainable.


    • Who said “regular farm chores” and “commercial work” are treated separate? That’s nowhere in the text of Bill 6, and since farms aren’t referenced except as exemptions in the related legislation this bill changes it means it plain old isn’t true. The leftwing media lied to you.

      How is mandatory insurance a bad thing? Why does it apply to temporary unpaid workers, like when you need to put up a fence quickly and your neighbour comes to help?

      First you say this will stop people from being killed on farms, then you admit they can’t come send inspectors to all of them. So which is it?

      Also, Alberta’s OHS regulations are ridiculous for regular commercial businesses, for a family farm they are completely retarded. I have to put WHMIS labels on stuff in my shed because my nephew is picking out his 4-H steer in the paddock? I have to record all first aid incidents involving my children for investigation by state agents?

      Here’s a crazy concession: no unions on farms? We don’t have legislation pushing unions on autobody shops or grocery stores, so why farms?

      I’ve seen workers ridiculously abuse the “unsafe work” canard. They deserve to be fired and thrown onto the street, but instead they are coddled by government regulations. Like the other OHS rules, wanting to expand this ridiculous program is crazy talk. It should be cut back, not enlarged.

      What’s wrong with “I don’t want to live under these regulations”? That sounds like a beautiful thing for an Albertan yeoman to say to an intrusive government that only got into power because you’re not the only one who believes lies in the Edmonton Journal.


      • Kevin says:

        This is a typical
        Knee jerk reaction, regulate rather than investigate and get to the root cause. OHS legislation is already in place for other industries, instant fines are also part of that process yet everyday I see roofers at height no fall protection.
        There are not enough OHS officers out there to educate and enforce when needed. There are a lot of employers in non farming industries who don’t even realize OHS applies never mind WCB.
        Legislation doesn’t make a worksite safer it’s how you work and think makes it safer. Sometimes just stepping back for a minute and just take a breath.
        A safety program should not restrict or negatively impact your business it should enhance it. I’ve been making them work for many years.

        I’m a believer in 1 fatality at a worksite is 1 too many.


  2. Brian says:

    This would only be a start. It must not go through!


  3. Brian Marshall says:

    A farmer and Rancher is an extremely special person that literally is a jack of all trades and a master of most. In the city, people go to work in a mostly structured enviroment and perform a single task. Farmers and ranchers , depending on the day wear so many different hats, from agronomist, to a mechanic, to a veternirian, to a bookkeeper, and a carpenter. They have huge debt loads, due to the high costs of land and equipment and have the talent to operate the equipment both from a technical point of view and practical one. The only way you can do all of this is from a solid farm background. Education at school will only prepare you for portions. Especially livestock, you need to spend a lifetime learning in order to get you where you need to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gary Pryzner says:

      What concerns me most about this, Brian, is that the “jack of all trades” will no longer fly once farms are forced to commercialize. Here are some of the ‘advancements’ to farming that would hinder the average farm from being successful:
      – You have a part to weld, but no welding ticket? The you must pay a welder to do the job.
      – You have a granary to build? Better call the ticketed pros.
      – You want to use your front end loader? You need a course.
      – You want to walk among your cattle? Oh, there will be rules on that too!

      I can do almost anything I put my hands out to do. I have an understanding of the world that far exceeds what most who dwell in cities have from a university degree, and I learned a large percentage of it on the farm. I can’t imagine how different my life would be had I grown up with a father who left the home and went farming every day, rather than take me along. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

      Oh, and one of the things my father taught me was the safety principles he learned by being an attentive farmer in a community. “Tractors can tip, Gary. Cut the hay going down the steep hill, not across it.” And many other numerous lessons.

      (No offense to those reading this who have earned a fancy degree and who desire to belittle my college level and many years of hard work.)


  4. Connie Rajewski says:

    When hiring in our business our most successful hires are farm kids. There is a reason for this. They have hands on experience from a very young age. A young child soaks in whatever you want to teach them and will listen. This definitely fades once they get a bit older. You can’t replace hands on learning with book knowledge as Rachel Notley is showing us every day. Theory is a wonderful thing but it just isn’t always right. I guess then she will have to extend this new law to towns and cities and kids mowing grass, washing cars, etc. We will raise generations of useless children without minds who wait for the government to feed them as the family farm will be gone and look at State farms in Russia to see how that works. Notley will go down in history as the woman who single handedly ruined Alberta. Pretty sad.


  5. Terry S. says:

    I can not believe that Albertans voted these retards in, it is true, they will distroy this province.


  6. Gwen Norman says:

    I have worked in Agriculture all my life, I was raised on a farm. I have worked in the confinement aspect of agriculture where the company did have coverage for disability and stat holidays. There is a way to exempt the family farm from the industrial farms. It is the industrial farms that need to be regulated not the family farm unit. I personally have lost a young person to a senseless death running equipment due to the long hours they were forced to work. An easy solution would have been to run a swing shift, to insure the safety of all involved. This particular operation saw numerous accidents involving loss of life and limbs. While the owner was consoling the family for the loss of their 23 year old son, his lawyers were busy filing documents insuring the company could not be sued for wrongful death, no compensation was offered to the family for their loss. These people need to be accountable for what they are doing and this legislation will bring some accountability to the table of these “Industrial” farms.


    • Country classic says:

      If you grew up on a farm, you should know there’s no such thing as a stat holiday…


      • louisefeit says:

        Seems like farmers really want to be their own country.


      • Concerned_for_Alberta says:

        louisefeit below says farmers want to be their own country due to not having stat holidays, interesting, l I work for the federal government and Harper took away out stat holidays as prisons are 24 hour jobs, not unlike farming/ranching. My in laws ranch and one of the most enjoyable times of year is branding time, guess I won’t be “allowed” to help this year.


  7. Janneke Poot says:

    The only thing we do is FEED THE PEOPLE can everybody and especially NDP wake up and appriciate where your food is coming from?? and maybe give us financial a hand! Unless everybody want’s the State Farm’s and Oh who is going to run them?
    Our task as farmers is now to get out there more and make people aware, let’s start with the schools!!


  8. fred says:

    seems like annie never farmed.apparently does,nt have a clue.she should try it .then would know what farmings about.i farm.try to get help thats never grown up on a farm.they are idiots.hav,nt learned anything when young.thers,s hardly anybody you can find already that has farm they totally want to distroy everything the country was built on.


  9. Joan says:

    In the third paragraph you refer to 30 hour work days. Farmers and ranchers would love those kinds of days during harvest! You really need to change this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Cheryl says:

    As a farmer/operator I am opposed to forced legislations with no consultation – both sides hold valid points. Farming is the lifestyle that comes with the business, not the business that comes with the lifestyle – ironically, common sense tends to go out the window. Stop the legislation, let consultation occur and come up with something that is agreeable to all sides. There are better instruments out there than the WCB, so lets have flexibility if it is the farm workers who we’re worried about. Unfortunately, people are killed or seriously hurt in their place of employment but government strong arming and handcuffing of farms is not the solution.


  11. Todd Webb says:

    Another disaster compliments of the NDP. Ruining Alberta one silly piece of legislation at a time.


  12. Andrea says:

    We need to take the premier and everyone else in government in favor of this bill and put them on a for a week. They get a list of daily and weekly chores to be done and they have to complete them the way bill 6 would require. Maybe then they may have a little more appreciation for all the hard working farmers out there.


  13. Kyle howg says:

    I was convered under WCB to when I lost my big toe working on a drilling rig in Northern AB to earn some extra money during late fall before calving season started. I received $1291 for it!! WCB is a total joke! We I know have my own insurance separate from WCB.


  14. Adam says:

    If the cows, pigs or chickens need to be fed then so it shall be. Animal rights has more power then the rest of the dumshits making those insane laws.


  15. Katie says:

    For those folks who vote for this and don’t live on a farm good luck. GOOD LUCK when you piss off farmers and they just close for a season, when markets become empty…..when your local supply stops. When they choose to keep what they farm to themselves, or trade other farmers and take up one of the many other trades they have as an income. If the rules become so stringent that a farm kid can’t grow up throwing hay to animals and learning how life works then they might as well not be allowed to do anything at all, almost anything in life can be a ‘job’ later. Farm kids just learn about life sooner, and there is no reason why you can’t pay your kid to feed animals, scoop poop or whatever else…….. but it’s ok to pay a child an allowance, to clean or do ‘non-farm’ chores……I’m not following society. Might as well bubble wrap kids now and say if that bubble pops your dead because you have zero life skills. Most farm workers either are born into it, aren’t educated so chose a field that will take them… can grow out of it- 18 years plus, educate yourself for another job, or work for a quality employer- or if you are the FARMER you chose it because you like HARD WORK and the lifestyle it supports! Everyone talks about how shitty large scale employees are treated well first a few details need to be ruled out- are the employees legally allowed to be in the country/or are they legally allowed to work, two if you choose to get a job with a crappy employer that was your choice- you can leave, and do you have flexible work hours or extra benefits another job wouldn’t allow you. For instance many employees of farms can bring a dog/kid if something comes up, switch or shift hours, and gets benefits like using a shop to fix their vehicle. There are lots of problems out there, but the core of the problems aren’t to create new rules. How about they start cracking down on the current rules, like fair working environments, illegal workers, minimum wages….one at a time if the current rules were cleaned up and sorted out it will fix quite a few of the current problems.


  16. Lorie says:

    Farm kids grow up learning skills, morals and values a lot of city kids miss out on. I have never met a parent that would intentionally put their child at risk. What about baking bread and gardening? SOP’s for running a rake and hoe?

    Before being premier Rachel’s involvement in politics focused on labour law, with a specialty in workers’ compensation advocacy and workplace health and safety issues, so this is her background.

    She is totally out of touch with the people of the province. Maybe farm families should adopt an MP for a week so they can all learn what farm life is about.

    Makes me sick to my stomach that she feels she has the right to meddle with hard working families that feed her and her family.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. alvinfinkel says:

    The Alberta government had no choice but to pass this legislation. Farm workers in other provinces had gone to court regarding their omission from labour legislation and the Supreme Court had ruled both for BC and Ontario that farm workers cannot be excluded from labour legislation. Those decisions implicitly require that ALL provinces pass legislation that satisfies the decisions of the Supreme Court. The evidence before the Supreme Court demonstrated that many farm workers had died or been maimed because of irresponsible decisions by farmers that the workers were powerless to protest without the force of law behind them. Shame on you for claiming that your “lifestyle” makes you better than everyone else and justifies the murder of your workers. As a labour historian, I’m well aware that the same irresponsible arguments were made by all employers when labour legislation was first introduced. You can feel “sick to your stomach” all you like about the government “meddling” with “hard working families” but you are part of a profession with a lot of blood on its hands. That is going to change. Lives are going to be saved as they have been in other provinces.


    • jds2015 says:

      Well Mr. Labour historian, what about my right to raise my children? Apparently that means nothing to you. Family means nothing. There are still small farms out there ran by husbands, wives, sons and daughters and this legislation makes that incredibly difficult. My own children can’t go out and feed the cows and calves bought for them when they were born as a way to teach them hard work, commitment, pride, dedication, loving what you do. I can’t help my husband move equipment from field to field without being covered. We don’t have a hired man/woman. I’m the wife and it’s my job to help where and when I can. My husband will that to pay somewhere around$15000 a year for me to help him. How does that work?

      Since you seem to know it all, maybe you should come take over the farm for us. You’re smart, high and mighty, so you can show us how to do it and how this legislation will be good for our kids. By all means, lead the way.


    • Kari says:

      And if you can’t save the lives of three little girls who happen to play somewhere not safe, at least these laws will make it so we can fine their grieving parents or send them to jail, shut down their farm until OHS deems everything up to their standards while their crops lay rotting in the field and take their last child to social services and so he can grow up safe away from his dangerous farm home. Laws come with punishments for non-compliance…and as you say, it is only fair and right if we enforce them on all businesses the same.


    • Separate then. Won’t be a problem after that. The Supreme Court is out of control and making more and more rulings totally divorced from common sense, so we need a split from them at all costs.


  18. Cayley says:

    So where is the education about agricultural and ranching? How can we “start in the schools”? I live in the city, and my sister is a rancher and horse trainer. So I have a very basic understanding of what her life looks like over the years and my nieces and nephew grow up working with her. But what I’m getting at here is that without my sister, I wouldn’t know anything. I certainly wouldn’t know what prairie oysters are haha! So how can we address this gap in learning and education in the urban areas? This was never offered to me k-12, and growing up in the city we have very little exposure at all to agricultural and livestock education or training. Probably the best thing we’ve got is Calgary Stampede. But that is not enough. I think there needs to be a united effort from rural and urban families and leaders to expose urban centres to this lifestyle. Kids growing up should have these opportunities to explore and be educated. How can we move towards that?


  19. Kevin says:

    How many farm deaths per year are considered acceptable?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Non-family farmworker says:

    It’s very informative to read the opinions of folks here. I sympathize with farmers who weren’t consulted on the bill. I’ve certainly learned more about the bill from this article and the comments that follow. Last year I worked on a small-scale mixed farm run by a family. It was my first taste of farm work. I really enjoyed the contract, interacting with the family and feeling a part of the day to day routine and social fabric of family, farm and home. One day I was injured on the job and had to take a full week off of work. When I approached my employers for information on what benefits/rights were available to me, they became quite defensive though I wasn’t looking for controversy, simply information. It shocked me that farmworkers were exempt from some of the health protections offered by the province. On the family farm, a lot of the work was done by farmworkers, even migrant workers from Mexico. I can only wonder what limited rights farm workers would have compared to Canadian farm workers. While I truly sympathize with family farms, I think from a farmworker’s perspective, it’s important to recognize that even family farms DO hire non-family members to work. During my contract, it was my full-time income. I worked 8-hour shifts and made minimum wage and drove 2 hours, round-trip to the farm. I would’ve loved to continue my contract, but to be honest, the lack of protections, the low pay and the sense that I had to accept the “rules of the family” as a fuzzy job contract felt a little bit exploitative. I’m someone who wasn’t raised on a farm, but would love to pursue farming. If more protections were extended to farm workers, I might feel more incentive to accept the inevitable that comes with the job: long hours, a labour of love really. If we want to encourage more people, particularly young people, into farming, then we have to recognize that many farmworkers will not be family members, they will be off-farm workers, even migrant workers. I truly sympathize with family farmers that this would be an added cost to over burdened farms, but I wonder what the solution would be. How can farmers and farmworkers both feel secure? Can anyone offer any alternatives to what the bill proposes?


    • Carol Boehm says:

      Non-family farmworker; I am sorry that was your experience as many farmers would of paid you for the week out of pocket and ensured you were well taken cared of and every farmer I know would of been very concerned for your welfare.


  21. D. Valaine belton says:

    Interesting discussion from the point of view of someone has been on both sides. Both sides have valid points but neither can concede just a little that there may be a safer way to do things than the way it’s always been done. Things have to change so we quit losing our children to farm accidents when we are tired and working long days. If this is the starting point of change so be it. Do it for the next generation and accept it in the spirit in which the legislation was brought forward. We can all learn better ways of doing whatever it is we do for a living -we have to be open to change and when I say change I mean growth.


  22. RH says:

    Before I jump onto the bandwagon does anyone have any real evidence that the NDP is going to do what people are claiming? All Ive found is the changes in legislation and nothing alluding to government bureaucrats dictating to me how to run my farm, teach my children or somehow teaching my cows to have their babies on days & times deemed acceptable by them.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Terry says:

    I’m thinking maybe Albertans should round up Notley and her crew and show them the way out of Alberta permanently.


  24. SW says:

    I understand people’s desire to be protected from financial diffiulty if they are injured, but that has to apply to EVERYBODY. As a farmer or rancher you are self-employed. If you pay yourself a wage, you have to pay CPP and EI. While we might eventually collect CPP, there isn’t a snowball’s chaince in H-E-double-hockey-sticks that we can collect EI when the farm or ranch doesn’t make enough to pay us. We just keep working, for free, and hope we can earn enough somewhere else to pay the bills and feed our family. And, if the government passes Bill 6, we’re now going to be forced to pay WCB, which we can’t collect either, as the owner of the “business”. Even if we incorporate the business, categorie ourself as an employee, and pay all the required deductions, we are at risk that some bureaucrat will decide that we have too much control over the business to qualify for any benefits.

    I frankly don’t care whether this was started by the PCs, or an NDP pipe-dream, it is ill thought out, and counter-productive. The intent may have been good, but I resent being asked not only to pay for something I can’t ever collect, but also paying increased taxes on everything else to staff the program.

    Another thought, which I haven’t seen mentioned above … most family farms are not self-supporting. Many of us have to hold down real jobs just to pay the bills, because with ups and downs associated with farming, there is no guaranteed income. The only way a lot of farmers manage to keep going is that second (or third) income, and the help that comes from the community. For most of us in that category, farming or ranching is a lifestyle, not a living. Is the government going to support me financially, and if so, via what mechanism? And if they don’t support the small guys, do we understand that eventually either the government or large corporations will take over the land, and decide what we eat? That’s a scary thought!

    As an aside, I noticed that there are several meetings planned, at various points around the province, supposedly to solicit input. However, they are all almost full. The question is, with whom? By the time we heard about them, we couldn’t get a seat. I for one, plan to go my local meeting whether I have a “seat” or not. Guess we’ll see what happens.


  25. Everyone I’m sure should take care of themselves and yes everyone wants to be safe while working for sure, but the NDP has to realise that farmers work on a different schedule and time table than most people/ other business.

    Some have crops, some animals and some have both. Farmers certainly depend on the weather and even try to beat the weather at times. What if the child wants to learn how to do things on the farm? of course they don’t have to do anything to strenuous or crazy. It’s definitely a learning ground when they are young.

    Common sense is important and should be used by all means, a lot of things are common sense if you think about it, and yes education to be safe doesn’t hurt either, but if they are learning and doing things in a safe manner why can’t they go a bit over time? Has anyone from the NDP farmed or know some farmers to realise their time and efforts?

    99% of things, especially food come from farms. They can’t just let their crops wither away, snow can spoil crops. Animals need care as well and sometimes it might require going over time, to turn some switches on or off or help with animal birth, ect, who knows. I do want them to be safe, but definitely not be robbed of providing for their family and a portion of the community/country. The NDP really needs to think about this otherwise Alberta is just going to fall in the pit….Why did Alberta vote NDP anyhow??


  26. Nes Davison says:

    Our local MP, the Honorable John Barlow has called the NDP government to task in making this bill reality & pressured the Premier to slow down, think & research the implications this will have on the family farm. I applauded John for doing so & posted this earlier:
    “Hi John, keep up the good work & pressure on any of these idiotic decisions that are misconstrued to make “life better for Albertans” through the totally UNTHOUGHT & UNINFORMED & UNEDUCATED politicians that have been elected but know very little about the consequences of the Bill in question! This is just another NDP folly, God help us over the next 3-1/2 years that we must endure this party in power”


  27. […] generation has hardly ever seen in provincial politics. You can read my original statement here: Bill 6 and the End of the Family Farm. […]


  28. […] doubled over the same time period last year (Bill 6 came into effect January 1st, 2016, with great backlash from the farming sector).  While that may be very true, it rather goes without saying, if you […]


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