Anti-Bill 6 protests picking up steam

EDMONTON, Alta. — Protests against farm worker legislation keeps building in momentum.

A hastily built Facebook page, opposed to Bill 6, has 24,000 members in only a few days, farmers packed a Grande Prairie hotel ball room Thursday and on Friday about 150 farmers protested on the steps of the Alberta legislature.

Without changes to the bill, farmers have vowed to continue the protest the bill.

“I don’t agree with the bill,” said Stan Wilkie, of Bashaw.

All WP Bill 6 coverage here.

“As farmers we’re pretty independent and it is an insult that they think they need to tell us how to look after our children. It’s arrogant. The previous government was arrogant and now this one is too,” said Wilkie.

About 150 people turned out at the Alberta legislature to protest Bill 6 Nov 27.

About 150 people turned out at the Alberta legislature to protest Bill 6 Nov 27.

Alberta jobs minister Lori Sigurdson chats to farmers at a rally at the legislature about the farm labour bill.

Alberta jobs minister Lori Sigurdson chats to farmers at a rally at the legislature about the farm labour bill.

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Under the proposed legislation, Alberta’s 45,000 farms and ranches will no longer be exempt from farm safety rules, worker’s compensation requirements and labour standards.

But to Wilkie, the bill is just an added cost that the farmer has to absorb and difficult to enforce.

“It is just going to be a hassle for all the farmers.”

Kamren Birkbeck said his family works off farm to support the farm, but it is a life they have chosen.

“No one can tell us I can’t help calf my calf at 40 below to help us make a living and make our payments,” said a tearful Birkbeck.

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Kayla Trautman, of Stony Plain came to the rally to get the message through to government that farmers need to be heard before legislation is passed.

“Maybe there should be someone listening to farmers before making the rules,” she said.

Alberta Jobs minister Lori Sigurdson wandered into the crowd briefly, citing the case of farm worker Kevan Chandler, who died in a farm accident on a southern Alberta feedlot. His widow later sued the farm and it went broke.

“This bill is about safety,” said Sigurdson.

“We want to prevent farmers from losing their farm and we want to make sure that we protect the lifestyle.”

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  • Aaron

    The Facebook page is now at 34,000 and growing. Big difference from 24,000.

    #stopbill6

  • fernstalbert

    Farmers, ranchers and market gardeners are small business owners – this is why the NDP is going after them. It isl about growing government regulation and public employee unions. Nanny Notley is micromanaging the personal choices that Albertans make on their private lives. Safety is not the issue – she is working to depopulate the rural areas and force people to the cities.

  • Lorne Russell

    Lori Sigurdson, a social worker, who likely has never run a business in her life, never worked on a farm in her life, probably has no experience in the private sector whatsoever, feels qualified to tell farmers how to run their businesses.

    It’s going to be a long, long disastrous 4 years Alberta.

  • Arrow54

    The government and their well meaning intentions is a disaster to all farmers. The government in my opinion is making laws not for safety and the benefit of the farmer but to make a money grab for the benefit of government. Notley axed over 3000 jobs in southern Alberta, now she is scrambling to compensate the funds through the farmers. I feel that Premiere Rachel Notley, and Job Minister Lori Sigurdson keep your fingers out of the farming industry. Neither one of you know anything about farming, how it works, or what has to be done to make it work. You want Alberta farmers to not lose their farms then do not bring in this bill C6 or it will be the death of farmers and Alberta as a whole. You want to save money and making money start axeing the government politcians and other workers wages, benefits, severance packages and retirement funds. The federal government needs to stop donating our money to other countries and stop using our dollar to fly high on the hog doing your political job for Canadians. Stop bringing in refugees and supporting them when you can not support Canadians.You are Canadians servants not the other way around. I have asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop this and I have asked him to resign as Prime Minister. I have told Premiere Notley that I want her resignation because she does not have a clue as to how to take care of Alberta and I am now asking Job Minister Lori Sigurdson for her resignation as well. I feel if the public servants of Canada can not do what is wanted by Canadians and know how to create jobs for the bendfit of Canadians and for the betterment of Canadians and Canada as a whole, they are not needed in government in any department. We want someone in these department that know how to make a dollar, create jobs for all, keep Canada safe, secure and are welfare for all on a high level. No homeless, no hungrey children, medical care and schooling FREE for all Canadians. We want someone in all departments that have their heart for Canadians first wnd foremost. We don’t want a corrupt government in any goverent department.

  • In terms of absolute numbers of fatalities there is no more dangerous occupation in Canada than agriculture. In 2014 the number of farm fatalities in Alberta,was 331 people killed, of that number 63 were children.

    Source, Alberta medical examiner’s office.

    This bill from a purely OHS view is overdue as farming is an industry with a very high fatality rate that is unacceptable to any other industry. All small business owners in Alberta are required to adhere to provincial OHS and public health regulations as applicable. The bill and the subsequent regulations are designed to protect workers who currently are exempt from OHS protections.

    That is paid employees.

    This bill will protect family farms/business and reduce or eliminate liability and lawsuits under WBC legislation providing the family farm/business has an OHS management program in place. Proving due diligence is the best protection you have.

    This bill is going to pass make no mistake about it, the first farm that is investigated for a fatality under OHS legislation should also be prepared for a possible criminal investigation as well. In Canada if organizations are found criminally negligent in the death or injury of a worker then bill C 45 comes into effect under the criminal code of Canada.

    Bill C-45 is federal legislation that amended the Canadian Criminal Code and became law on March 31, 2004. The Bill established new legal duties for workplace health and safety, and imposed serious penalties for violations that result in injuries or death. The Bill provided new rules for attributing criminal liability to organizations, including corporations, their representatives and those who direct the work of others. your foreman.

    In Alberta, Workplace Health & Safety Inspectors are also peace officers who have the ability to fine, charge and shut down operations.

    As I mentioned earlier, the best protection is an occupational health and safety management program designed specifically for your farm operations. In court it will always be your best line of defense, if it is not writing then it never happened.

    • PeterK1

      Your stats are wildly exaggerated. If you look at this link:

      http://www.ohscanada.com/health-safety/alberta-saw-25-farming-fatalities-in-2014-chief-medical-examiner/1003346878/

      you’ll see that the fatalities were 25 in 2014, not 331 as you claim.

      Still, 25 deaths is a very high number.

      I think the protests are overblown. Farmers in all other provinces live under OHS legislation. They are not going bust, their kids can still help out and they can work when it’s cold. Calm down people and get the facts. Talk to farmers in other provinces and see how this works.

      It is unfortunate that the government has so few details and didn’t consult farmers first but the paranoia on display is almost funny.

      • yahmon

        other provinces family farms are exempt!

        • PeterK1

          Family farms or family members? This bill would only apply to paid workers (i.e. employees) not family members doing unpaid work (e.g. kids doing chores).

          • Harold

            Does this mean that with this bill that no accidents will ever happen again? There will be no death? No one will loose the farm? we will all be saved? An offering plate in church? This is nothing more that an invitation for Government to enter onto your property without sound reason, to takeover your business and family and prosperity affairs. When your in the business of raising your family who should the government be? Nobody. What about a warning. Be aware; injury’s on the farm may result in loosing your farm. Too much freedom! Farmers are not a corruptible bunch but the Government is. WCB, OHS, Labour Standards are all Government subsidiaries who do nothing more than collect money.They have no investment in your family or property. They are the artificial person- not you. I hope we can all say it loud enough but we should be protesting at your MLA’s offices as well. Picture the poor MLA coming into his office surrounded by a peaceful mob Alberta wide. More effect than at the legislature. Besides, they all go to the Legislature anyways and their office is closer to your home. I hope that Non-farmers will join In because your family is next. Farming is every politicians/persons concern. We said so. Try and eat paper.

          • Phoebehuxley

            Look at their other bill, Local Food Act. They’re ramming these things through

          • PeterK1

            You exaggerate wildly. All sorts of businesses in Alberta are subject to OHS regulations,. They aren’t being raided by safety gestapo or being shut down. Farmers in every other province have lived under OHS regs of some sort for years. Take a deep breath and calm down.

          • Harold

            I own an Alberta business subject to OHS regulations, WCB, AGLC, and Government and insurance inspection agencies. The exaggeration is all yours,
            Perhaps you missed Rachael Notleys election speech.
            Perhaps you don’t know of her previous occupation.
            Was it recently that Cargill was showing OHS regulations to their deceased employee and their family. That’s an exageration

      • Guest9

        Correct. 2014 was 25 and the average over the last number of years is about 16-17. I agree that some form of safety oversight program, possibly OHS and WCB, shouldn’t be too big a problem but this bill is not just about workplace safety oversight and insurance coverage for employees. If you asked Alberta farmers whether or not they could live under some form of OHS legislation like you mention I think there would be pushback, but most would agree to it with consultation. They did virtually nothing to even give any information let alone consult before tabling the legislation, have had nothing in writing that helps calm anyone’s fears, but keep saying that we have nothing to worry about, all they want to do is pass the legislation now and iron out the details later. They want us to agree to a blank contract. All consultation has been scheduled to take place after the legislation was drafted and tabled, much of it will take place after they plan to have the bill already passed. The original consultation schedule meant that many large areas of Alberta were over 2-1/2 hours away from the nearest location, if you could even get in. More venues were scheduled only after much letter writing and complaining, but my area with a large farming community is still 2-3 hours from the nearest one.
        They tell us that all that’s happening is we are getting rules that are just like every other province. Most other provinces recognize the difference between large corporate farms and the small family farm. Most other provinces exempt the small family farm from at least parts of their legislation. After they tabled the legislation and the protests began some of the NDP ministers have started to say verbally that the family farm will be protected, but nothing shows up yet in any written form. After initial letter writing and asking for clarification, consultation, and changes failed then the protest started with the idea of putting the brakes on until the consultation process helps us all work out an agreement that works for all farmers from small family farms to large corporate ones. We were told that wasn’t necessary, just trust the NDP government and it will work out fine. That is why the focus shifted to killing the bill, then work on something that is acceptable.
        I agree that sometimes people protest against the worst possible scenario rather than the most likely one, but until they put something in writing that makes sense for the small family farm what else are we too expect? Certain aspects of it such as the WCB requirements and the Alberta labour standards are set to go into effect on January 1, 2016. As those regulations stand now they greatly change how most small family farms operate if they wish to be compliant. Without some form of clarification written into the legislation that protects us our children are workers on a commercial enterprise and fall under Alberta labour standards including age restrictions. No one under 12, period. 12-14 are very restricted in what they can do, 15-17 are still restricted in ways that affect most family farms I know of. Note that these are from researching directly off government information, not cherry-picking from internet discussions. Government spokespersons have said for example that this won’t stop the 10yr from gathering eggs, but according to Alberta labour standards that isn’t true. I sell a few dozen eggs a week to friends and neighbours. That makes it part of the commercial enterprise, hence no one under 12, period. Your 11yr old wants to go see what you’re up to in the shop? Since it is a workplace and under OHS regulations, not allowed. If they want to tell us that we are going overboard, that the family farm won’t change, then they need to put it in writing, in the legislation, before they pass it. The government has said they have no intention of doing that, they have said the small family farm has no need for any exemption or separate consideration from the large corporate farms. That is why the protesters want to kill the bill until the government is willing to put some of these things in writing.

        • Harold

          First of all, never sign a contract without full disclosure. In Law, that contract is dead when contested. Lets talk about honesty. You have Law makers (Notley/Lawyer) and these same are forcing this contract without full disclosure and against your will. These same People would tell you were nuts to sign, and neither would sign it themselves. Where secrecy exists, the root is dishonest. (hostile takeover) Further, you are dealing with a corporation in which you cannot see their production plant to see the maximum you can acquire. (John Deer) There isn’t a form of legislation that I know of that isn’t subject to rising costs and is not amended repeatedly after it becomes law. How do you back out then? We are seeing before our eyes that protesting does nothing. Another difference is, that unlike other corporations, Notley walks away unaffected even if your livelihood is in ruins. Has she in any way acted like this issue personally effects her own family? How would she act if it did? The same? This should send alarm bells ringing across this Province. This is not Lawful, but if you accept, then it is. I cant understand why people think that when the Government has an offer; that they owe to it; when in contrast I know that they can easily reject inferior farm equipment. What I see here is a difficult salesmen who wont willingly leave your property, so you’ll buy something to make them leave. Did anyone invite that salesmen onto the property? I have a personal question for you if you don’t mind. In just your own business and nothing more; with bill 6, how will you personally benefit? Do you truly need anything this bill offers or were things running just fine. Can you duplicate what they offer on your own without them? There’s a trick governments use to humble the masses, and that is to divide and conquer. They tell you its all about the other farmers and thus everyone is acting for everyone else and therefore dividing your farm into 45,000 corporations. You become president and you have to do what’s good for the corporation. even though you don’t like what’s presented, you still get a sense of power. Feel it? Truth is, that’s not who you are. That’s why they are telling you about everyone else and not coming to talk to you. There are a lot of words on the WCB document and OHS and Labour Standards which you are living free from today. If you give up freedom for safety; you’ll get neither. Its ridicules that we all sit around and complain about how corrupt the Government is and when they have a handout; suddenly they’re honest. Well, what have we seen so far? Unless you have contrary knowledge, I stand by what I’ve said. I respect farmers fully and I say these things in help. Personally, like Notley, I have nothing to loose. What separates me from her is that I give a damn.

  • Time to remove the NsDaP by any means necessary.

  • yahmon

    200??? Really, probably over 2000, more than 1800 signatures were collected at the rally.

  • cliff hanger

    It is only when we realize that climate change laws farm safety laws seat belt laws cell phone laws is all about taking away freedoms then we can push back

  • ed

    We should also have 40 hour weeks max for workers and operators. and mandatory age 55 retirement as well should be implemented. There are probably still other popular ideas I am missing here.