Workers compensation coverage is not mandatory for factory farms. In some cases employees are injured on the job end up with long-term problems that are then considered “pre-existing medical conditions” if they seek medical insurance or compensation for a subsequent injury later in life.
Workers in factory farms in many provinces are excluded from labour laws that apply to other industrial workers, as companies take advantage of exemptions designed decades ago for family farms that employed hired hands.
Manitoba expands employment standards to farm workers As of June 30, 2008 workers in Manitoba hog barns have been granted the same rights that other industrial workers have enjoyed for decades.
Supreme Court Decision strikes down Ontario law prohibiting agricultural workers from forming unions
As a result of this decision, Ontario passed the Agricultural Employees Protection Act, 2002. The AEPA does not give any right of exclusive representation to employees’ associations. Employees from the same workplace can choose to form or join different employees’ associations.
Labour Standards Extended To Commercial Hog Operations
Government od Saskatchewan Press release, June 2002
Wages are low and turn-over high at factory farms. Only one intensive hog operation in all of North America--Bear Hills, Saskatchewan-- has ever been unionized. This was accomplished after a long struggle.
In 2004 the Tyson meatpacking plant in Brooks, AB became unionized. Workers had to strike in 2005 in order to get a first contract. The strike was one of the most acrimonious in recent Canadian history.