Factory farms in most provinces are exempt from labour laws that apply to other industrial workplaces. Exemptions designed decades ago for family farms reflected the need to work year round according to weather patterns and the cycles of the farm. Factory farms, however, operate like factories and not small scale family farms yet take advantage of these exemptions.
Workers in hog barns are exposed to much higher levels of dust, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, noise, and odor than are farmers in smaller scale operations due to the greater amount of time spent in barns and the increased concentration of animals per barn. As little as two hours daily exposure can lead to bronchitis, asthma, organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS), and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Workers compensation coverage is not mandatory for factory farms, despite these serious health concerns.