In Alberta interns are considered employees and entitled to minimum wage unless they fall within (1) the student exemption or (2) the professional exemption, which are described below:
(1) The student exemption applies to students engaged in “a formal course of training approved by the Director”, “in an off-campus education program provided under the School Act”, or “in a work experience program approved by the Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education or the Minister of Human Services.” Therefore, interns whose internships are not approved by the Director, a school district, or the appropriate Minister are entitled to employment standards including the minimum wage.
(2) The professional exemption applies to people training to be professionals in designated fields such as medicine, law, nursing, engineering and accountant. Therefore, interns who are training to join one of the listed professions are not entitled to certain employment standards such as hours of work, overtime, rest period and the minimum wage.
Effective October 1, 2017, the hourly minimum wage in Alberta is $13.60 for most employees. The minimum wage will rise to $15.00 on October 17, 2018.
Health and Safety Rights
In Alberta interns are entitled to protections under provincial worker’s compensation, as well as health and safety laws. The Workers Compensation Act defines “worker” and “learner” as follows:
“worker” means a person who enters into or works under a contract of service or apprenticeship, written or oral, express or implied, whether by way of manual labour or otherwise and includes…a learner.
“learner” means a person who, although not under a contract of service or apprenticeship, becomes subject to the hazards of an industry to which this Act applies for the purpose of undergoing testing, training or probationary work preliminary to employment in an industry to which this Act applies.
Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act defines “worker” and “occupation” sufficiently broadly to include interns and unpaid workers:
“worker” means a person engaged in an occupation
“occupation” means every occupation, employment, business, calling or pursuit over which the Legislature has jurisdiction.
In Alberta interns are entitled to protections against discrimination and harassment under the Alberta Human Rights Act, which provides for a broad definition of employment.
Disclaimer: This factsheet is not legal advice and should not, under any circumstances, be relied upon as legal advice. For assistance with your specific legal issue, please contact the appropriate government department or a legal professional. The Canadian Intern Association does not accept any liability for your use of this factsheet and will not, under any circumstances, be liable to you or any other person for any loss or damage arising from, connected with, or relating to the use of this factsheet by you or any other person.