Press Releases

AgCoalition announces new governance structure, communications protocols and plans for Provincial Government consultation sessions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Calgary, Alberta), February 22, 2016 – The Alberta Agriculture Farm And Ranch Safety Coalition (The AgCoalition) is pleased to announce new measures that align with the mandate to unify the farm and ranch community in effort to foster a culture of farm safety in Alberta. Measures include a formalized governance structure, new communications and producer feedback mechanisms and preliminary plans for the Provincial Government’s consultation sessions set to begin this spring.  

The AgCoalition’s governance structure is built on several working groups that will engage producers, strategic thinkers representing both the crop and livestock sector, and staff resources from the AgCoalition’s membership organizations. External expertise will be called in as required.

“With the Provincial Government consultation sessions in the near future, we have been working hard to formalize our governance structure to ensure we have the resources in place to represent the agriculture industry most effectively,” said Page Stuart, AgCoalition Co-Chair. “Our mandate is to represent our sector with a unified voice, and we believe our governance structure reflects that.”

Additionally, the AgCoalition has developed several communications and producer feedback mechanisms including reestablishing the crop commission’s Bill 6 survey – which will now remain open until February 26th – and implementing the email address info@agcoalition.ca for farmers and ranchers to write with feedback and questions. Plans for a website launch are also in the works to ensure that information and updates for the agriculture sector are easily accessible.

“Transparency with the farm and ranch community is a priority to us,” said Kent Erickson, AgCoalition Co-Chair. “We have been working to develop effective communications mechanisms to connect with our membership and the farmers and ranchers we represent to ensure inclusiveness across our industry.”

As the agriculture sector progresses toward the government consultation sessions, the AgCoalition has requested that its membership work collaboratively to determine who will represent the industry throughout this process. The intent is to recommend farmers, ranchers, employees and technical experts who will best represent the industry.

The AgCoalition does not favour the current model that the government has proposed for the consultation sessions, and intends to bring forward concerns to the Provincial Government with suggestions to develop a less fragmented approach that would result in more meaningful and effective consultations.

More information on the AgCoalition’s governance structure, communications and producer feedback mechanisms and plans for the consultation sessions is available in the backgrounder below. 

The AgCoalition was established on January 22nd, 2016 with a mandate to unify the farm and ranch community in effort to foster a culture of farm safety in Alberta. 

Media Contact:
Victoria Russell
Communications Specialist
vrussell@albertawheat.com
403-219-7906


Backgrounder
The AgCoalition is pleased to provide farmers and ranchers with an update of our efforts so far, working with a mandate to unify our industry in effort to foster a culture of farm safety in Alberta. The following backgrounder will cover the AgCoalition’s governance structure, communications protocols and preliminary plans for how we will approach the upcoming provincial government Bill 6 consultations.

Governance structure
The AgCoalition has developed a governance structure which we believe will be the most efficient way to represent our industry while ensuring that we have resources in place to move our work forward. As we progress toward the consultation sessions, these groups will work collaboratively to ensure that policy positions developed reflect the needs of our sector.  Our governance structure includes:

  • Farm Safety Coalition Strategy Committee: This group of general managers and executive directors representing both the crops and livestock sectors will provide strategic support to the Industry Advisory Forum and Technical Working Group.
  • The Technical Working Group: This group will be populated with AgCoalition membership staff and industry representatives and could potentially include external expertise if needed. This group will undergo the daily work efforts that the AgCoalition will require. Participants of this group will be confirmed after the next AgCoalition meeting on March 2nd. 
  • Industry Advisory Forum: This group of producers will interface with the AgCoalition and provide regular input to the work that is taking place. 
  • GOA Regulatory Consultation Interface: These are the AgCoalition representatives who will eventually interface with government, supported by the Strategy Committee and Technical Working Group.
  • Communication and Administration Group: This group will engage with the Strategy Committee on communication initiatives and will ensure that the AgCoalition has effective administrative process in place. 

The Provincial Government Consultation Process
On Feb 11th, many agriculture organizations involved with the AgCoalition received nomination packages for the consultation process. The government has taken steps forward to proceed with a six table approach to the consultations, where industry representatives would consult on Employment Standards, Unique Considerations, OHS Best Practices, Technical Rules, Education and Training, Employment Standards and Labour Relations.

The AgCoalition does not favour this fragmented approach. During our inaugural January 22nd meeting, the AgCoalition membership tested the six table approach. The conclusion was that there is significant crossover of information within these six topics, and dividing the work into six tables would fragment the consultations, making them less effective.

Kent Erickson and Page Stuart, the AgCoalition’s co-chairs, will meet with Minster Carlier and Deputy Minister Yee on February 24th where they will bring forward our concerns with this approach.

With regards to the nomination packages, while the AgCoalition does not favour the current model for the consultation sessions, AgCoalition members are asked to forward nominations for the consultations to the strategy committee. In doing so, the AgCoalition will be able to coordinate with nominees and optimize our consultation effort – regardless of the consultation format – to ensure meaningful and effective consultation sessions. 

Communications practices and mechanisms for feedback
The AgCoalition is pleased to implement several different mechanisms for communications both incoming and outgoing. We want to ensure that the farmers and ranchers we are representing are able to contribute their feedback to our process. Here’s how the AgCoalition will operate with an open and transparent mandate:

  • Survey to garner Bill 6 feedback: The crop commissions initiated a crop and livestock sector survey to garner farmer and rancher opinions on the four pillars of Bill 6. The AgCoalition membership wishes to thank the crop commissions for this work, which has now been transferred over to the AgCoalition in alignment with our unified approach to industry representation. The survey deadline has been extended and will now close on February 26th. Final results will be provided to the AgCoalition in preparation for the consultation sessions. The AgCoalition also plans to publicly release these results to ensure farmers and ranchers are informed on how this process turned out. The survey is available here.
  • AgCoalition email: The AgCoalition has set up an email address and we wish to invite farmers and ranchers to contact us at any time at info@agcoalition.ca.
  • Website to be launched: The AgCoalition is working to develop a website that will house updates as we progress toward the government consultation sessions.

The AgCoalition wishes to thank farmers and ranchers who have already provided input. We value this information, and will provide your responses to our working groups in preparation for the consultation sessions.

AgCoalition members include:
Alberta Barley Commission
Alberta Hatching Egg Producers
Forage Network
Alberta Beef Producers
Alberta Milk
Hutterite Standing Committee
Alberta Beekeepers Commission
Landscape Alberta
Alberta Canola Producers Commission
Alberta Pork
Potato Growers of Alberta
Alberta Cattle Feeders
Alberta Pulse Growers Commission
Western Barley Growers Association
Alberta Chicken Producers
Alberta Seed Growers Association
Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association
Bison Producers of Alberta
Alberta Turkey Producers
Western Stock Growers' Association
Alberta Elk Commission
Alberta Vegetable Growers (Processing)
Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association
Alberta Wheat Commission
Alberta Grazing Leaseholders Association
Alfalfa Seed Commission (Alberta)
Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association
Egg Farmers of Alberta