Tag Archives: government

Training programs for “the hired hand”


Hands-on training to help address farm labour challenges

The Agricultural Operator Program is a module-based program offering practical, hands-on training to individuals interested in working on Saskatchewan farms. Students and employers will have the flexibility to choose the entire program or specific modules relevant to their farms.

The first three modules will be seeding, spraying and scouting, and harvest to be delivered at Parkland Regional College in Yorkton. Additional modules will be developed for the livestock industry including haying, beef cattle reproduction and calving, and cattle husbandry and handling. Following the pilot program, the provincial government will work to expand the program to other regional colleges across Saskatchewan.

The pilot program will start with a seeding module beginning March 3 and ending April 16. The module is comprised of 36 hours of hands-on workshops and nine hours of online delivery. It will cover essential farm knowledge for seeding processes and equipment maintenance. The spraying module will be available in late May and the harvest module will be available in early July.

“We are pleased to run the pilot year of this course at our Yorkton Campus,” Parkland College President Fay Myers said. “The timing of the modules matches the critical times on the farm, so employees can take the seeding module during the time right before seeding. Then they can then put their education to use right away in the field.”

For more information on how to apply for the program, go to www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/GrowingForward2 or www.parklandcollege.sk.ca.

When the program was announced this week, Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said, “Producers have indicated that they need more skilled labour for their operations and this program directly responds to their needs. Farmers can send current or potential employees through the program to develop or help fine tune their skills. Additionally, general labourers without a farm background will have an opportunity to gain the experience needed to get involved in the industry.”

spring on the PrairiesThe federal and provincial governments will invest $200,000 in funding for the development and delivery of the Agricultural Operator Program pilot through Growing Forward 2.

Next week’s paper

Your weekly sneak peek into the upcoming Unity-Wilkie Press-Herald:

  • perhaps you heard about the $1,000 random act of kindness in Luseland a couple of weeks ago? Now you can read all the details in Monday’s paper; along with
  • results and photos from the Candace Heitt Memorial Run;
  • a description of what goes on when court is held in Unity; and
  • a fun page of photos from Unity’s Fun Day of Golf.

Unity Fun Day of Golf

Unity Fun Day of Golf

Work rules for students

14- and 15-year-olds can only work 16 hours during a school week

Saskatchewan youth aged 14 and 15 must complete Saskatchewan’s Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course (YWRCC) and abide by Saskatchewan’s Minimum Age Employment laws if they want to work during the school year.

Employers are responsible for ensuring each young worker provides them with a YWRCC certificate, which must be kept on file. Employers must also follow the labour standards, occupational health and safety and minimum age employment laws.

“As school is a priority, it is important that youth with part-time jobs are aware of the minimum age laws,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said. “There are limits on the hours per week they can work and the start and end times of their shifts.”

Young workers under the age of 16 must have the consent of their parent or guardian to work, are not allowed to work after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, cannot work before school starts in the morning and cannot work more than 16 hours during a school week.

The YWRCC is a mandatory ready-for-work course that teaches youth about occupational health and safety, labour standards laws and their rights and duties as employees. Since 2010, more than 27,000 certificates have been printed.

The course can be taken online at www.lrws.gov.sk.ca/ywrcc. You can also learn more about YWRCC at 1-800-667-1783.

Randy Weekes, Minister of Rural and Remote Health

By Sherri Solomko

Biggar MLA Randy Weekes was appointed Saskatchewan’s Minister responsible for Rural and Remote Health in May, 2012. Last month, he was in Unity touring the health centre and meeting with staff and long term care residents.

Weekes’s main goal is to get out and visit as many rural and northern communities as possible, and to listen and learn from Saskatchewan people about their health-care concerns. He wants to get on the ground and hear, not just concerns but also some great ideas for solutions from a local perspective.

Asking Weekes about the biggest challenge in providing health care to rural residents, he responded, “Consistent and predictable access to physician services in smaller communities can be difficult. It is this government’s priority to make recruiting and retaining physicians a top priority.”

Regarding concerns on shortages of EMTs and long term care aides in Unity, Weekes said, “We know that shortages of health care workers remains an on-going challenge – especially in smaller centres. And once we’ve recruited health care workers, retaining them in a smaller community is sometimes even more difficult. We are always looking at ways to increase the complement of all health care providers – whether that’s through incentives, or more training opportunities. We’ll continue to work with the Heartland Health Region officials to ensure we have appropriate numbers of workers to meet the health care needs of patients.”

He added, “We’re often seeing a trend in the positives … such as the use of nurse practitioners in communities. Nurse practitioners have been well received in many communities that are fortunate to have one.”

He raised another issue, saying, “One other common theme is that various players in the health care system need to do a better job of communication with one another, which means the government and our health care regions have to work harder to communicate effectively with both patients and health care providers. We want to do a better job of consulting and engaging the community as a partner in the health care system …. Touring the province has been a great tool to increase outreach and communication with various communities.”

Weekes makes suggestions and presents ideas to Health Minister Dustin Duncan, based on the feedback, observations and advice he receives during visits to different communities. He said, “I … share the insights I learn on the tours with the Premier and my cabinet colleagues … I always want to ensure that the rural perspective – or rural lens – is considered when our government makes major policy or budget decisions on health care.”

Major concerns or specific requests, for example a new hospital, “are considered as part of the larger budget process.”

Weekes was “very impressed” with Unity long term care and the health centre, as well as the facilities in Wilkie. He concluded by saying, “The feedback from all avenues was very much appreciated and I would like to thank everyone at the facilities for their commitment and dedication to providing health care services in this province.”

Minister Weekes can be contacted by at randyweekes.mla@accesscomm.ca, (306) 798-9014 or Room 208, Legislative Building, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, S4S 0B3. More information about him and his portfolio is at www.gov.sk.ca/health.