Alberta’s controversial farm safety legislation debate ended as the government majority passed Bill 6.
The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act passed third reading today 44-29.
A Wildrose proposal to hoist the bill and send it to committee to be studied for six months was voted down.
Once the bill is proclaimed, farmers with paid farm workers must provide Workers Compensation Board coverage by Jan. 1 and follow occupational health and safety standards.
The amended bill exempts family members, both paid and unpaid, volunteers and neighbours from WCB coverage and occupational health and safety rules.
The bill wasn’t always clear in its intent, and thousands of farmers turned up at government sponsored information sessions and rallies on the steps of the Alberta legislature protesting the bill.
With few details provided when the bill was introduced a month earlier, farmers and ranchers were concerned new rules would drive them out of business and not allow their children or neighbours to help out on the farm.
During a news conference after fall session ended, Wildrose leader Brian Jean said the party will continue to oppose Bill 6.
“This is something that farmers and ranchers won’t soon forget and neither will the Wildrose,” he said.
Now that the bill is passed, the government will begin to consult with farmers and industry groups on how the regulations will be implemented.