Canadian Conservation Institute advertises for unpaid work

The Canadian Conservation Institute (an agency of the federal Department of Canadian Heritage) has advertised several unpaid internships on their website. Applicants are eligible if they have “completed appropriate studies within the last give years” or are “enrolled in a post-secondary program.” The program is 8 weeks long and no financial renumeration is provided. Internships are offered in such areas as archeology, preservation services, textiles, photodocumentation, and conservation research. View the entire advertisement here:

These conservation internships are on our Name & Shame Wall because we believe these positions should be paid. The interns filling these positions are sure to be highly skilled and some are likely to hold undergraduate and even masters degrees in archeology, heritage management, and conservation science. This internship is not only for students, but also for those who have graduated within the past five years.

Since the Canadian Conservation Institute is a federal agency, its employees and programs are subject to the Canada Labour CodeEmployees of federally regulated agencies must be paid the minimum wage of the province they take place in. The term “internship” is not found under the Canada Labour Code, but this position could fall within the meaning of “employee” or “dependent contractor,” which are both defined under the act.

Furthermore, the federal government is not following its own policy directive. The Department of Labour has issued Hours of Work – 802-1-IPG-002“ stating that persons must be compensated for the hours that they work if their training scheme is of a longer duration, the person is performing aspects of a job, and a de-facto employment relationship develops. This policy directive supports the idea that these conservation internships should be paid.

The Canadian Intern Association is calling on our federal government to ensure that this and similar internship programs  include payment of at least minimum wage.

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