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much more than that,” she comments. Part of Skinner’s job involves working with local government to help councils and boards enact bylaws and zoning that helps to strengthen support of agriculture. “Buffers are important for some aspects of agriculture, for example.” Keremeos had a local bylaw that residents couldn’t keep bees on land within the township, but actually Agricultural Land Reserve legislation trumps local bylaws, so on land in the ALR, bees are one of the permitted agricultural uses of the land. “Local government can restrict, but not prohibit uses,” she notes. But, Skinner also responds to concerns of cities and municipalities about agriculture, including conditions for workers and neighbourhood concerns about that issue, for instance.


Local government can pass bylaws and enforce them, regarding density and public safety; the Ministry of Health can become involved if there are issues around the contamination of water, for example; and the Agricultural Land Commission requires that temporary farm worker housing be only for seasonal workers and have a minimal footprint on ALR land. It can enforce its legislation about the uses of such housing, but not the conditions.


Consulates inspect foreign worker housing to ensure standards are met for immigrant workers, and, in fact, there are a number of farms in the Okanagan where consulates refuse to provide workers, because conditions do not meet their standards, notes Skinner.


Ideally, local government


legislation regarding temporary farm worker housing would be similar in adjoining jurisdictions, she adds, but that’s not necessarily the case right now.


Canadian Farm Business Management Council


British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2018 11


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