Statement by David Swann: Tragic Deaths of Three Children on Alberta Farm

CALGARY, AB (October 14, 2015): Dr. David Swann issued the following statement:

“I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the deaths of three young girls on a farm near Withrow, Alberta. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of these children, and I can only imagine what they are going through.

“Regrettably, this tragedy speaks to how dangerous farms can really be and, perhaps more importantly, raises serious questions as to why Alberta continues to resist adopting basic health and safety standards in agricultural settings.

“We are literally decades behind other jurisdictions in this regard, and can no longer point to notions of heritage or nostalgia to justify our inaction. It’s time for Alberta to stop excluding farms and paid farmworkers from occupational health and safety regulations, including child labor standards. We must adopt rules that are commensurate with the very real dangers that exist in these settings.

“While legislation alone likely would not have prevented this tragedy, there is arguably so much more that we could be doing to make our farms safer places to live and work. My sincere hope is that, after years of delay, the Alberta government will finally enact long-promised regulations to do just that.”