Alberta, Farming, Farm Workers, Agriculture, United Conservative Party, Alberta Politics, Ndp, Workers Safety, Bob Barnetson

Alberta, Farming

Alberta slashes number of farms that must provide insurance coverage for employees

Alberta slashes number of farms that must provide insurance coverage for employees

21.11.2019

Alberta slashes number of farms that must provide insurance coverage for employees

UCP introduces bill to allow operations to choose between private insurance and province’s Workers’ Compensation Board program

The United Conservative Party campaigned on a promise to repeal the previous government’s farm safety rules, which demanded thousands of farm operators enroll in the province’s Workers’ Compensation Board program. The UCP wanted to abolish this and other changes the New Democratic Party imposed. The UCP, as well as angry farmers, argued the NDP’s safety and employment rules were too onerous for small farms, and that operators should not be forced to enroll in WCB’s program.

“We wanted to make sure that small family farms are protected,” Devin Dreeshen, the province’s agriculture minister, told reporters.

Private insurance and WCB each have advantages. Private insurance, for example, can cover employees if they are injured off the job. Certain programs can also cover family members for benefits such as dental. WCB only covers injuries that happen while employees are working, but unlike private insurance, payments are not subject to a maximum cap. Further, employers with WCB coverage are protected from being sued by injured workers. Some farms in Alberta offered employees private insurance or WCB prior to the NDP’s farm legislation, known as Bill 6.

Read more: The Globe and Mail

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