PEI

How to make farm work less seasonal

The P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture is asking the provincial government to create legislation that would allow farm workers to bank any hours they work over 40 hours a week.

'Labour is one of the largest and longest issues facing the agricultural community'

The seasonality of the work is one of the key reasons people don't want to work in agriculture. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture is asking the provincial government to create legislation that would allow farm workers to bank any hours they work over 40 hours a week.

Those banked hours could be paid out when the season is finished.

The goal is to make farm work less seasonal, said federation executive director Robert Godfrey. The seasonal nature of the industry is one of the top two reasons people say they don't want to do agricultural work, according to an about-to-be-released federally funded report.

"If they're able to have a steady pay cheque for a longer period of time through the banking of hours in that way, I think that's excellent," said Godfrey.

"Labour is one of the largest and longest issues facing the agricultural community on Prince Edward Island."

He said anything that will help keep workers in the industry needs to be considered.

During the height of the season, it's not unusual for workers to put in 60 hours a week, said Godfrey. Banking that quantity of hours could make the season about 50 per cent longer. 

Other provinces have similar legislation already. Godfrey has made plans to discuss the issue with Agriculture Minister Bloyce Thompson.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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