Welcome to the online home for our qualitative research on workplace health and safety in family farm contexts in Canada.

Non-wage household workers on Alberta farms: Risks, attitudes, policy.

Non-wage household workers on Alberta farms: Risks, attitudes, policy is a study on legal coverage and exclusions for family farms under the Alberta occupational health and safety (OHS) laws. We are looking at recent changes to Alberta farm and ranch legislation, particularly changes to OHS and workers compensation requirements, in 2016 and 2019. The legislation does not currently cover workers who are family members (i.e., family members who are related to the farm operator), or more recently, employees on small farms. The goal of the study is to inform OHS policy through in-depth qualitative research about work-related health and safety on family farms from the vantage point of operators, family members and employees.

The objectives of the study are:


To examine how operators, family members, industry, employees and OHS regulators perceive and address workplace hazards in farming contexts, and how these risks might be addressed.


To explore injury prevention practices and policies in family farm contexts from an inter-jurisdictional lens.


To understand and inform OHS policy-making as it relates to family farms.

By focusing on legal changes to OHS requirements in the Alberta farming context, the study will inform broader conversations about farm safety and labour legislation in Canada and the US.

We are grateful to participants who have contributed to this research.

Family farms as exceptional workplaces: Ideals and impacts on workers

Another study, Family farms as exceptional workplaces: Ideals and impacts on workers, focuses on OHS and workers compensation legislation. We are using document sources (legislation, legislative debates, and constituent submissions) to examine justifications for farm exemptions under OHS rules. Ideas about farming, family, and work are of interest in our research. The geographic scope for this research is Canada and the US, and we are looking at specific periods of recent legislative change as case studies for this research. An Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada supports this study.

Funding and Affiliations

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