EDMONTON, AB (November 17, 2015): Dr. David Swann released the following statement on the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act:
“Today is a great day for Alberta. After more than a decade of delays, questioning, petitions, rallies, and calls to action, paid farm workers will finally receive the basic workplace protections that the rest of us enjoy.
“I welcome the introduction of this desperately needed legislation and, of course, will enthusiastically support its passage. I welcome the badly needed changes that will come into effect on January 1, 2016 and I call on all stakeholders and interested parties to take part in the additional consultations that will follow. Together, we can create the best possible workplace protection regulations for farms.
“There will, no doubt, be opposition to this legislation. There will be excuses, ideological alarms, claims that this will forever alter our way of life or doom our industry, and cries that the government is doing too much, too fast.
“Make no mistake. Opposition to this bill is opposition to a farm worker being able to refuse unsafe work, it is opposition to any minimum wage whatsoever for farm workers, it is opposition to restrictions on child labour, it is opposition to requiring proper safety training before doing a new task, and it is opposition to the protections of WCB for farm workers and farm owners.
“The days of a legal framework that would make Charles Dickens blush will at long last come to an end in Alberta. It is a great day indeed.”