Province Introduces Farm Freedom and Safety Act
Bill 26: the Farm Freedom and Safety Act was introduced on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, to address how employment standards, workers' compensation, labour relations and occupational health and safety laws apply to farms and ranches. If passed, Bill 26 will repeal the Enhanced Protection for Farms and Ranch Workers Act, commonly referred to as Bill 6, and bring in changes regarding labour relations on November 20, 2019, insurance changes on January 31, 2020 and all other changes on January 31, 2020.
Key changes in the new legislation include:
- Farms and ranches with 5 or fewer employees, not including family members, and employees who work less than 6 months consecutively will be exempt from all employment standards.
- Farms and ranches with more than 5 waged, non-family employees will still be required to meet employment standards, with some exemptions.
- Include nursery, greenhouse, mushroom and sod in the definition of farms and ranches.
- Farms and ranches will be exempt from the Labour Relations Code.
Occupational health and safety
- Farms and ranches with waged, non-family workers will still be required to meet basic safety standards under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
- Farms and ranches with more than 5 waged, non-family employees will be required to have workplace insurance, but will be able to choose which workplace insurance option works best for their operation (WCB or private).