Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Farm worker rights editorial

The September 2 edition of Alberta Farmer Express had an interesting editorial talking about farm worker rights.

After reprising the basics of the debate (such as asking why do farm workers growing vegetables in a greenhouse have the right to refuse unsafe work while farm workers growing vegetables in a field don't) the editorial raises a number of interesting questions about the inequity in Alberta fields.

I asks what role do private insurance companies (who benefit from the WCB exclusion of farmers) play in the current situation? I'd never considered this specific angle before but it is an interesting one.

How can the federal government approve foreign farm worker applications for Alberta when it knows that those workers will not receive the same (or any) OHS and WCB protection and coverage as the same workers in every other province?

Why does Alberta continue to resist extending basic rights to agricultural workers when mandatory OHS and WCB coverage has clearly not devastated agricultural operations in other provinces?

-- Bob Barnetson

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