Alberta boy starts petition against labour bill

Andrew Meinen says the proposed provincial legislation would restrict his ability to help his parents on their farm

Andrew Meinen, 11, objects to an Alberta government farm safety bill, and he is doing something about it.

He developed a petition and is soliciting signatures from people who object to Bill 6, the NDP government’s farm safety legislation.

“Why should kids like me, under 14, not be allowed to work on the farm,” Meinen asks in his petition’s preamble.

“When else are kids going to learn how to work?”

The farm and ranch legislation that was announced Nov. 17 has generated widespread concern and protests from the agricultural community.

“I don’t want to be locked in the house and not be allowed to work on the farm,” said Meinen.

His father, Tim, said he is concerned about the ramifications of the legislation and doesn’t know how it will affect his farming operation near Monarch, Alta.

“We’re a family farm,” said Tim Meinen. “We use our boys around the farm to help with odds and ends. I can’t see me doing it without my boys.”

The Meinens have three boys, 12, 11 and 9, and two girls, 6 and 1. They run a calf-raising facility and grow hay.

“I have no problem with the WCB component for commercial farms, but the mom and pop operations with no employees, that concerns me,” said Tim.

Bill 6 makes it mandatory as of Jan. 1 for farms to provide WCB coverage to all employees.

“Rules are a good thing, but rules don’t prevent all accidents,” he added. “How far are they going to take the rules?”

Contact barb.glen@producer.com

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