UPDATED: Alberta exempts Hutterites from Bill 6

UPDATED: December 4, 2015 – 1610 CST – RED DEER — In a complete reversal, the Alberta government has announced it will exempt Hutterite colonies and their 22,000 members from mandatory Workers Compensation Board and Occupational Health and Safety coverage.

When the Alberta government announced Bill 6, the farm safety bill, documents showed Hutterite colonies would be required to follow the same safety standards and workers compensation rules as other farmers.

During a consultation meeting in Red Deer two weeks later, Alberta agriculture minister Oneil Carlier said Hutterite colonies would not be required to have mandatory workers compensation coverage because the premiums were based on salary and colony members aren’t paid a salary.

“WCB premiums are matched to what they pay. As unpaid farm workers, how can you match premiums if they are not getting an actual wage? I think there are some details to be worked out around Hutterite colonies,” Carlier told reporters after the meeting.

All WP Bill 6 coverage here.

He also said occupational health and safety rules would not be applied to colonies.

“OHS would be a concern on Hutterite colonies. Colonies I have visited this summer all took safety as extremely important,” he said.

Later, Carlier’s press secretary, Renato Gandia, wrote in an email: “If there are no paid workers on a colony, which is the way that colonies operate, neither WCB nor OHS would apply. The only way that WCB and OHS would apply would be if there were paid employees on the colonies. This will be clarified in the amendments to Bill 6,” he wrote.

“There have been miscommunications on Bill 6, including from official channels because government was not clear about our intention and we are clarifying that now with amendments,” he added.


Because the colonies would not be covered by OHS, safety officials would not be able to investigate any fatalities or deaths on the colonies, he said.

In November, a 10-year-old boy on the Lougheed Colony died when the forklift he was driving flipped.

But the flip flop by the minister has Hutterite colony members feeling they are being singled out by the proposed changes and will pit farming neighbours against colonies.

Gord Tait, Hutterite business adviser with MNP, said the colonies have not asked for specific exemptions and said Carlier’s flip flop has created concern.

“Hutterites don’t want a special exemption. They don’t want to be pointed out,” said Tait.

After the Red Deer meeting, Tait requested the minister not single out Hutterites in his new messaging.

“We said, ‘don’t point us out, don’t single us out, don’t use our name if you don’t use anybody else’s name,’ ” said Tait before the Lethbridge consultation meeting.

Until Tait sees the proposed amendments, he can’t say how they will impact colony members.


“The colonies do not want a special exemption. The colonies are pushing the agenda that they are a great example of a family farm and they are part of agriculture and want to be treated by the rules of agriculture,” he said.

“The new rules they say are coming, we can’t wait to see them.”

In Manitoba, Hutterite colonies are exempt from WCB coverage unless there is a paid employee working on the colony.

“If you have someone hired and you are giving them money, then they are an employee,” said Warren Preece, with WCB Manitoba.

In Manitoba, there are no exemptions for colonies for occupational health and safety, said Julie DeVoin, with Manitoba Jobs.

In Saskatchewan, Hutterite colonies are not exempt from health and safety laws because they are “incorporated entities,” said Pat Parenteau, director of policy with the ministry of labour relations.

Hutterite colonies are exempt from WCB in Saskatchewan.

Contact mary.macarthur@producer.com


  • John Fefchak

    Initially,the Alberta Premier has stated that there was a lack of communication for the proposed changes.Now with the decision of complete reversal, I would suggest that this bill needs to be scrapped, entirely and another full re-write is in order. So far, all that has been accomplished is …making farmers angry.

  • Marika

    Here is a copy of Bill 6
    A ridiculously unthought of, non consulted with by the stakeholders 5 page document that will affect 60,000 farmers and ranchers and over 300,000 citizens
    It does not;
    1. Recognize Or differentiate large commercial farms to small family farms
    2. There is no distinction between a feedlot or small hobby farm
    3. It does not recognize the long days farmers and ranchers require during calving and harvest
    4. No recognition of the role children or teenagers play growing up in family farms helping with chores
    5. There is no guidance for distinguishing a home from a work site
    6. No recognition of a culture of neighbors helping neighbors to ensure things get done by deadlines
    7. No provisions recognizing 4-H
    8. It does not exempt Hutterite colonies or any other special religious organizations

    And any amendments that they have said were made to this Bill have been deleted from their site you can’t find anywhere !!!


  • the donald

    The ndp is trying to divide the hutrites and farmers. Just like bill 6 ……massive fail!!!

  • Paul

    Let’s scrap the whole bill an go back to how it was for so many years which worked well.

  • Sharon

    Are you kidding?? Another nail in the family farming coffin. Why should they be exempt? The Hutterites are no different than the rest of us.

    • jim

      Sure they are they dont get paid wages

    • Harold

      Sharon, of course the Hutterites are different than us. They stand up and we don’t. They didn’t ask to be different. They know what to do with BS: instead of eating it they put it in the soil. We are allowing the NDP to make us different.

  • Pat Ryot

    this is what happens when you put snot nosed kids, enviro radicals and well basically textbook commies in charge of a government..utter chaos

  • Lana Bollers

    Because they don’t want the fight, but bring it on NDP, lets see how long you last! Guess what Hutturites will always stand by their fellow farmer no matter what….

  • Valdimar Huerta

    People who claim this is for safety check agian it is a thinly valid excuse to control the rural element ,it is a bid to take away the I dependence and individualism of a element of society that is not up till now controlled by unions and goverment to as large of a degree! This bill is a method of controlling and manipulate this rural sector into union submission! It has nothing ,nothing at all to do with keeping people safe!fa4 far from it!
    These slick manuvers will probly baffle the majority of kooliad drinking Albertan who follow people like Workman’s compensation and oh and s as demi gods,when the only ones these civil servants are serving is them selves creating more and more control buy a goverment intent on ruling all under the guise of socialism,when in actuality it is dictatorship! If you have ever worked with either of these 2 groups Wcb or oh and s you already know I speak the truth! Then enter in excemtions and the plot thickens

    • P

      This says it the way it is.. who in the government knows any of the farmers and wants to protect them. It’s all about money and control.

    • Harold

      There is no Law requiring the NDP to enact this Bill. There are already laws in place protecting all those concerned. So, why the haste? Similar, but unlike any other Union, the NDP is not asking you to voluntarily join theirs but is forcing you to contract with them against your will. No one has asked for this Bill which is why it lacks Consultation. Further, as the Saskatchewan voters have no vote in Alberta, Notley has a duty to serve the citizenship of Alberta only. To include other provinces opinions into law; is to include them into Alberta as voters. Those opinions of other provinces are for the people of Alberta to digest and then to vote accordingly as they have conscience to do.(liberty) It is repugnant to ignore the Alberta people of the “corporation” Farming (60,000) Safety for cash. (saw that in a mob movie once) Trouble is, they are never on your farm; you are. Moreover, like anything you do not want to be involved with, just simply ignore it. It is a mistake to fill in those survey forms, as in doing so, you enact yourself as being party to. Instead, you print a copy of the survey and leave it blank/void and then go to your MLA office with your letter of protest and Bill 6 and file it.(no thanks – I do not consent to Bill 6) If all farmers in Alberta do the same, the message is heard fully and the NDP have no choice but to act upon it. (trust your reality and not theirs) Beneath it all,since September 1, 2013, Judges, lawyers, policemen, politicians, etc. are no longer protected and immune from the Law. [APOSTOLIC LETTER-ISSUED MOTU PROPRIO] re: criminal matters.(did you collect this on the 6-0-clock) You do not need to stand at the Legislature like zombies coming to a locked gate begging to be heard. Working with your MLA you are inside that gate and sitting at a desk with dignity. [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] irrevocable. Article 4 : No one shall be held in slavery or SERVITUDE; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited IN ALL THEIR FORMS. Article 20. No one may be compelled to belong to an association. Article 21. 1 Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. Maybe Notley can explain the 30 articles of the Human Rights and show us that none were violated with Bill 6. Perhaps the NDP Public Servants would like to be tested in Court? Perhaps 60,000 farmers may want to donate $100.00 to this end. Nonetheless, from a reckless Bill, don’t expect the government to fix it. Its very nature demands abolishment, and if they are asked for a Bill, that they only proceed properly and lawful. Disclaimer: I am not giving Legal advice nor am I directing anyone’s action. although herein may contain facts, at peace, this is written as opinion for entertainment value only.

  • Shaun F

    and the sad part is we have three and a half more years of this

  • ray of lite

    So the only consistency is with regard to money/wages, not safety. Uh huh.

  • Oats Farmer

    It is good to see all the comment about the Alberta Bill 6.
    But where were all you people when the Harper Federal Government passed Bill
    C‐18 which made changes to Canada’s Plant Breeders’ Rights Act. All you
    farmer will have to shut down your seed cleaning Co-ops and buy all your
    seed from the big corporations. The big
    corporation have control and will exercise their RIGHTS which means they will get their money one way or another !!!!

    • Harold

      That is precisely why all those concerned cannot sit on their hands any longer. What that bill C-18 does is protect the bottom line of the corporation thus its existence never has to be earned by merit or choice. I am sure that the breeders have wined and dined Mr.Harper and showed him a little gratuity. Again the Farmers were not consulted beforehand. Does anyone notice that the Government does not produce legislation that keeps your bottom line guaranteed nor to keep them of your back? You are their wallet and they give that task to you. Therefore, we have to go to our MLA offices and file a withdraw of consent. It will make it to the Legislature and it doesn’t matter which party member takes it there. Bill 6 should be killed and not even considered until each stake holder has been duly consulted. That is the right thing to do. You never sign a contract until both party’s agree and there has been full disclosure. That is basic law 101. The fact that the lawyers and Government are law makers but knowingly produce such a reckless bill, should insult us and make us boil. They should be told in no uncertain terms that we are not idiots. Further I do not value the opinions of those who do not have an investment to lose. Only those who’s investments are proven sound and growing.

  • Dan Lever

    The whole bill is stupid. It will just screw over farmers.

  • Moe

    Supreme Court decision may be necessary
    A family is a family, a family is a family, etc

  • Jeremy Hodgin

    the rules should be the same as for all farms no matter who works them… a hired hand on a small farm should take the job as it is if they are willing to work on the farm… the government is just trying to figure out how they can incorporate another tax into the hutterite communities…and they don’t have the brains to do it… out “thunk” by some backwoods farmers 😛

  • Darius Hofer
  • Cuppers40

    why are they so special if your going to dictate how farms are run they should be included . This bill 6 is a joke and a waste of money nothing has been explained everything is hush hush just like her carbon tax was all hush hush hope all you ndp lovers are happy our province is going down the toilet

  • Brent McGillis

    This is NOT the “CHANGE” we were thinking of Rachel Notley. We were told there would be an end put to all of this WCB corruption. …
    We have been lied to before in AB, Rachel. Drunk Ralph fell into Corporate line quickly, when the 1% told him he was NOT their first pick as “The Chosen One”.

  • Paul

    Was able to attend meeting held in Bassano, one area of concern among many is the fact Hutterites will or will not be exempt. The fact is Hutterites have not asked to be exempt if this bill goes,(which we hope it wouldn’t). What this would do is create a double standard amongst farmers, which in any society is bad for relations. Give everybody what’s there’s, fair is fair. Who asked for Bill 6 anyway? Had this Bill not come we would not have to deal with this today, so let’s scrap the bill an keep enjoy our ways of life..

  • Hoopsopinion

    This is ridiculous. If someone is exempt from WCB or labour safety laws then they should be exempt from going to the hospital. Health care and WCB go together.

    • Harold

      WCB was created so that in the event that there was a work related injury, the Employer would not go bankrupt from a law suit awarded against them. A Hospital has nothing to do with WCB other that WCB pays the bills.. No one is exempt from Labour Safety Regulations. That is to say, the Courts are not with their hands tied if OHS does not exist. Your right; this is ridiculous.

  • ed

    Their could be a lot of single family farms applying for colony status.

  • Johnny Burback

    So, if Carlier visited a “regular” Alberta family farm and found that they were “taking safety as extremely important” they would be exempt too? What a crock of crap, they don’t want to become embroiled in a legal constitutional battle. It should be my religion not to pay more than my fair share of tax too….

  • farmsafety

    Let us look at the injury statistics for farming and then say we don’t need some sort of health and safety system on the farms. We all have children, and this means that our children do get subjected to the hazards of farming. Are we doing enough to keep them out of harms way? Are they receiving the proper knowledge for our children and ourselves? Can you work without controlling the risks? I don’t think so. The only way to know where you are at, is to know how you got there. The only way you will ever know where you are going is to know where you are at. Let’s have a look and see.