KAP Expresses Concern Over Pending Manitoba Employment Standards Code Changes

CANADA - Keystone Agricultural Producers is expressing its concern over plans by the Manitoba government to create different categories of agricultural worker and extend provisions of the provincial employment standards code to those workers based on those categories, Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 12 February 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Proposed changes to Manitoba's Employment Standards Code, scheduled to take effect June 30, will divide agricultural employees into four distinct categories and extend the code's standards to include those workers based on those classifications.

Keystone Agricultural Producers president Ian Wishart says, on a number of points, KAP and its member commodity groups agree with the planned changes but there are still outstanding concerns.

Ian Wishart-Keystone Agricultural Producers

On a number of the points and, as you probably appreciate this is fairly complex there's 13 points I think in the whole farm labour standards change, we certainly agree with a number of them.

It's been 50 years since the farm labour standards have been touched and so there was obviously a dramatic need to update them and in many of these areas farm employers have already reached or exceeded the standards and that's an area that obviously we could agree to without any real difficulty.

There were a few points where we couldn't get together with the Department of Labour.

One in particular where they wish to divide the industry at climate controlled environments as their definition and we don't see that as a really good way to divide the industry.

In fact we don't want the industry divided.

We see us as a complete industry not just sectors and, even when you examine it, there are a number of sectors that would be caught up in this discussion.

You would end up with two sets of labour standards on individual farms or, in some cases, one farm impacted and the one down the road not and that gives competitive disadvantages to that particular farm and we don't want to see that of course.

Wishart says KAP fears the different classifications will create unnecessary confusion and the organization would prefer the option of dealing with the agriculture industry as a whole and not dividing it.

He applauds the government's definition of family members and their exclusion from these particular regulations.

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