Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More on farm safety

There were two recent video clips on farm safety in Alberta. On May 16, Alberta Primetime did a short piece on the continued exclusion of farm workers from employment laws. Again discussion swirled around family farms versus corporate farms and the parameters of regulation. There was the usual shuck and jive about all farms are family farms even though some are large forms or corporate farms. Blah, blah, blah.

An interesting narrative that may be developing here is that there are a small number of bad actors who refuse to voluntarily comply with OHS rules. I'm not sure if that is true, but it does create an opportunity for activists to drive a wedge between producers--perhaps breaking down the historically broad opposition to regulation. There was also an interesting discussion of employer tactics re: bullying migrants workers.

Subsequently, there was a longer discussion about the constitutionality of the broad statutory exclusion of farm workers on Calgary Now.

The discussion included a law prof, a union rep and an injured farm worker. The hosting is a bit uneven but the discussion of the constitutional problems with the exclusions and the demands of farm workers (e.g., drinking water, washroom facilities) was quite fascinating.

-- Bob Barnetson

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