A Guide to Employment Standards in Agriculture

Additional labour may be acquired from time to time to assist you in your farm business, whether it’s via seasonal or casual employees, summer students, or independent contractors. As changes in legislation have included many workers in agriculture who previously were not covered by Employment Standards legislation, a fact sheet was developed to provide an overview of the most common Employment Standards provisions and to whom they apply in agriculture.
 
Employment Standards legislation does exclude immediate family members who work on a farm owned by a member of the family from most parts of The Employment Standards Code. Employees of a family farm corporation are considered to be working for their family if the corporation is controlled by one or more members of the employee’s family. The responsibility still lies with the employer to keep records, pay what was promised, and follow the rules regarding equal wages for men and women. However, the rest of the minimum standards do not apply to farm workers employed by family members. 
 
For more detailed information and to access A Guide to Employment Standards in Agriculture factsheet, visit www.manitoba.ca/labour/standards.
 
 
Young employees under age of 16, who are not immediate family, are required to have an approved permit from Employment Standards before they can work. Children under 12 years old are only allowed to work for an employer in exceptional circumstances. Download a Child Employment Permit Application, or contact Employment Standards for a paper copy. The application requires information from the child, parent/guardian, and employer. Once completed, return directly to Employment Standards for processing.
 
Workers Compensation Boardhttp://www.wcb.mb.ca/employers
 
Farming operations with non-family employees are mandated to have coverage as included in The Workers Compensation Act. Farm owners are required to report their payroll each year, including any seasonal, casual and part-time staff to the Workers Compensation Board (WCB).  When hiring contractors, contact the WCB to determine whether they are considered an independent business, or if they are considered a worker the farm business should be including in its payroll calculations. If the WCB determines the contractor is independent, they will not be deemed the farm business’s worker, and WCB premiums will not be applied. The contractor has the option of applying for Personal Coverage, and must cover any workers they have. Exceptions to mandatory WCB coverage are for family members who will be excluded from WCB coverage, unless specifically requested to be added in.
 
SAFE Farms – http://safemanitoba.com/
 
Effective April 1, 2014, all employers are required to provide all new workers with a safety and health orientation. A factsheet on safety and health orientation requirements can be found on the SAFE Manitoba site. Another training option is via the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA), which offers three online farm safety training courses, in Agricultural Machinery Safeguarding, Seasonal Agricultural Workers Health and Safety Orientation, and Working in Confined Spaces on the Farm. These online courses are free of charge until May 31, 2015, after which there will be a registration fee. To access the new on-line training courses, visit casa-acsa.ca and click "Training". 
 
This provides a general overview, and the information used is subject to change. For more information, contact:
 
Employment Standards
Phone:     204-945-3352 or toll free in Canada 1-800-821-4307
Fax:         204-948-3046
 
For more information related to Human Resource Management for Farm Business in Manitoba, contact a MAFRD Farm Business Management Specialist.