HUGE WIN! Canadian government agrees to ban unpaid internships in federal sector

It’s budget day and we very pleased to say we have a positive announcement for the Canadian Intern Association. The Government of Canada has agreed to ban unpaid internships in federally regulated sectors, unless the internship is part a school program. We have been lobbying for this amendment to the Canada Labour Code since 2013, and are glad to see that this amendment will finally be adopted.

We consider this to be a positive first step in the regulation of unpaid internships in Canada. Here is the relevant excerpt from p. 64 of the 2017 Federal Budget:

While federal sector unpaid internships make up a small percentage of unpaid internships in Canada (most are provincially regulated), this amendment will prohibit unpaid internships outside of school programs from some of Canada’s most profitable companies in the banking, telecommunications, and transport sectors.

Related articles: Liberals Commit to (Partial) Ban on Unpaid Internships, Youth and Work

New paper on Work-Integrated Learning by the new paper by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

As experiential education and work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities expand across Ontario and the rest of Canada, a new paper by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) cautions that a lack of clarity on a number of WIL legal issues is becoming increasingly challenging for institutions.

Maximizing Opportunity, Mitigating Risk: Aligning Law, Policy and Practice to Strengthen Work-Integrated Learning in Ontario identifies seven areas for institutions and policy makers to focus on: employment standards, health and safety, human rights, intellectual property, employment insurance, immigration law and tax expenditures. The study found that while only a small number of cases result in litigation, campus leaders and legal representatives are becoming increasingly preoccupied interpreting unclear laws and regulation, mediating disputes and negotiating agreements to address this growing and changing area of postsecondary education.

The report calls for greater clarity and consistency in the use of terminology to improve communication about the legal norms and expectations for WIL; more collaboration, communication and knowledge sharing throughout institutions, students, employers and government; and better and more publicly accessible data about the range of opportunities and experiences available through WIL.

Additional information on the report is available in the following Press Release and Globe and Mail opinion editorial. 

World Internships Survey 2016 – responses needed!

Have you ever been an intern of any kind anywhere in the world? If so, please complete the World Internships Survey 2016! We have partnered with intern advocacy groups around the world to put together the first ever survey to gather data on internships in any country and any industry!


Your responses will help us to make better informed and more concrete arguments about improving the work quality, pay and selection of interns. The survey will remain will remain open until July 28th, 2016. Thank you for your support!

PM Trudeau announces Youth Council & call for applications

Prime Minsiter Justin Trudeau, in his role as Minister of Youth, has announced the creation of the first ever “PM Youth Council”. The council will be comprised of 30 Canadians ages 16-24 and the first round of applications are due on August 12th. Click here for more information about the PM Youth Council.


The Canadian Intern Association was very pleased to be included in a briefing call with Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Minister Peter Schiefke, in advance of the announcement. We will be doing our best to ensure that issues surrounding youth employment and unpaid internships are central in the PM Youth Council requirement process and mandate!

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 9.51.06 PM
Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 9.50.33 PM

We would like to congratulate the Prime Minister on this initiative and look forward to following the council selection process. If you would like assistance with your application or would like to give feedback regarding the PM Youth Council, email