GFM Network News


Alberta ag minister Carlier downed in UCP win

Alberta’s incumbent agriculture minister was among the casualties as Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party defeated Rachel Notley’s New Democrats in Tuesday night’s provincial election. Oneil Carlier, the provincial NDP government’s minister of agriculture and forestry since May 2015 and deputy government house leader since February 2016, was unseated in his riding of Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland […] Read more

Too much progress has been made on workplace safety rules to go back to square one, says AgCoalition chair Albert Kamps,
seen here at a news conference with Labour Minister Christina Gray.

Furor gives way to compromise on farm safety rules

Farmers were outraged when Bill 6 was introduced in 2015, but years of talks have changed the situation

It began with a firestorm but nearly three years on, the province’s move to impose Occupational Health and Safety regulations on farms is headed for a far different ending. It would be a mistake to roll back workplace safety legislation, said Albert Kamps, a dairy farmer and chair of AgCoalition, an unprecedented alliance of provincial […] Read more


Farmers on a committee dealing with workplace safety regulations argued that wearing a seatbelt while operating farm equipment doesn’t make sense much of the time. But the committee is recommending making buckling up mandatory.

Buckle up — workplace safety rules may be in for a rough ride

Mandatory seatbelt use is among several ‘pretty big’ regulations that don’t make sense, 
says the AgCoalition

Over the objections of its farmer members, a committee has recommended the province make seatbelt use mandatory in tractors, combines, and other farm equipment. Forcing farmers to buckle up is just one — although likely the most controversial — of 142 recommendations from four “technical working groups” established to turn Bill 6 into actual occupational […] Read more

Concerns about unions and how families would be affected sparked Bill 6 protests, like this one at the legislature, across Alberta a year ago. A working group has unanimously recommended families be largely exempt, but the labour relations committee was deeply split over the right to unionize and strike.

Battle lines drawn on allowing farm workers to unionize

There’s agreement on issues such as overtime and exempting families from the labour code, but prospect of unionization is a flashpoint

Producers remain at odds with the NDP government’s plan to include the right to unionize — and to go on strike — as part of its workplace safety legislation for farms and ranches. “In some areas, we did see some movement and we did get to resolutions,” said Gord Winkel, interim executive director of the […] Read more


Farm groups plan to lead the way on workplace safety

With Bill 6 consultations drawing to a close, AgCoalition aims to ‘show the world’ how to make farms safer

Now that the province’s Bill 6 consultation process is nearing an end, what’s next for the unprecedented coalition of Alberta farm groups? “The AgCoalition was initially set up to advance a safety culture, and yet it got embroiled in a consultation process that it didn’t really have a lot of time or purchase for,” said […] Read more

Bill 6 coverage wins prestigious journalism award

For the second year in a row, Alberta Farmer reporter Jennifer Blair has been honoured at the country’s premier agricultural journalism awards program. Blair won bronze in the Weekly Press Reporting category for her December 2015 story entitled Big Blowup, which detailed the firestorm of protests which arose following the introduction of Bill 6, which […] Read more


Feedlots topped the list for injury claims to the Workers Compensation Board in the first half of the year.

Workplace compensation claims on farms jump sharply

But the claims offer an opportunity for finding ways to make farms and ranches safer for everyone, says farm leader

Alberta farm employee injury claims have more than doubled since workplace compensation coverage became mandatory for farms on Jan. 1, even though the number of workers being covered is only up by two-thirds. During the first six months of the year, 395 claims were filed by farm workers and 356 claims were accepted by the […] Read more

“We all want our employees to be going home at night safe and in the same condition that they came to work in,” says Kevin Serfas.

Moving past the Bill 6 rhetoric

AgCoalition meetings focus on creating sensible workplace safety rules

The Alberta government’s town halls on Bill 6 last winter were explosive, but recent industry-led meetings didn’t produce similar fireworks. “I thought the meeting went very well. There were lots of ideas thrown around between farmers and the facilitators,” said Turin-area farmer Kevin Serfas, who attended AgCoalition’s producer meeting in Lethbridge on June 22. “The […] Read more


Safety expert Don Andrechek (l) is working with Paul Wipf of the Viking Colony to develop 
a safety program specifically for Hutterite colonies.

Hutterite colony creates first-of-its-kind farm safety program

The Viking Colony is partnering with a safety expert to create a 
program geared to Hutterite colonies and their diverse enterprises


Paul Wipf has a passion for safety and has always wanted to raise awareness about farm safety on his colony. That prompted the farm manager of Viking Colony to partner with a workplace health and safety consultant to develop a first-of-its-kind safety program specifically for Hutterite colonies. “This has been in my heart and mind […] Read more

Alberta ag minister promises to work with farm groups

But coalition of farm organizations still waiting to hear details of its role in shaping new workplace regulations

The governmental gears are grinding over who will be at the table for upcoming Bill 6 consultations, but a coalition of farm groups is stuck in “wait and see” mode over what role they’ll play in the shaping of workplace safety regulations. “We had over 50 nomination forms come to the coalition office to be […] Read more