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Human rights concerns in agriculture sector raised in new report

When it comes to health and safety legislation, farming poses unique questions. Alberta has released nearly 200 pages of reports discussing health and safety considerations in the agriculture sector. Human rights concerns such as compensation, employment standards and safety precautions in farming are a much-discussed topic. Albertans have 11 weeks to provide feedback on the government reporting.

The reports were completed by six working groups seven months ago. They were released at the end of October in an effort not to disrupt the harvest season. The lengthy report features 142 recommendations and is available online to the public.

Most of the report focuses on human rights concerns related to health and safety. Among the recommendations are an industry-led health and safety association, a communications strategy, and educating employers on Occupational Health and Safety code. They also recommend providing financial support to the agriculture sector to support it meeting OHS requirements.

Human rights concerns have been a much-discussed topic in the agricultural sector. The passing of Bill 6 in 2015 required farmers and ranchers to offer Workers' Compensation Board coverage to paid workers. The bill was highly controversial. The government says its current choice to consult Albertans on these health and safety recommendations came from lessons learned with Bill 6.

Human rights concerns can take place in a variety of workplaces. For those doing manual labour or farm work in Alberta, health and safety may be one of the most common concerns. Those who wish to better understand their rights during a dispute with an employer or employee should contact a lawyer.

Source: CBC News, "Bales of farm safety recommendations released by Alberta government", Oct. 26, 2017

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