Producers Seek Clarification of New Employment Standards Code

CANADA - Manitoba's pork producers will be seeking further details of what will be expected of them when changes to Manitoba's Employment Standards Code take effect June 30, Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 19 February 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

When Manitoba's Labour Standards Code was revised in June 2006 agricultural workers were exempted from the changes pending further consultation because of the unique nature of the industry.

Changes due to take effect this spring will end that exemption for most agricultural workers.

Manitoba Pork Council general manager Andrew Dickson says it's going to take some time for everybody to understand how these provisions are going to work.

Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork Council

The concern of course is that this is all relatively new to the agricultural world in terms of new standards for employees and so on and we're very concerned about the impact this is going to have because, for example in swine, we're dealing with live animals.

These animals have to be fed every day, they have needs that don't fit within the normal work week of 9:00 to 5:00 that most other workers would be used to.

We face the same problems hospitals do in terms of looking after patients.

These animals need to be cared for and we offer a very high standard of care to our livestock in the province.

Then you get other issues like seasonality of workers and so on.

How is that going to apply?

Vegetables have to be picked.

When they're ripe they're ready to be picked so you can't say, well I'm stopping work at 5:00 o'clock.

If the weather is good you need to be moving on these things and get the crop harvested.

So there's a whole host of issues that need to be sorted out.

One of our positions is that we need to sit down with the appropriate staff from the department of labour and see how we're going to be able to apply these standards and not disrupt business or the harvest or care of animals and so on.

Dickson says representatives of Manitoba Pork Council hope to meet with the appropriate staff members within the Department of Labour to clarify some of the definitions, get a sense of how the standards are applied in other parts of the workforce and then see how they can work within the constraints of, for example, the hog industry.

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