Last week, the Canadian Intern Association submitted its recommendations to the Changing Workplaces Review, the Ontario government’s ongoing review of labour and employment law.
The Canadian Intern Association’s submissions call for the Ontario government to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and the Labour Relations Act (the “LRA”) to provide greater protections for interns and students. Highlights include the following recommendations:
- Repeal section 1(2) of the ESA and require employers to pay all interns who are not performing their internship as a part of a placement approved by a secondary school board, college of applied arts and technology or a university;
- Repeal the exemption in O. Reg. 285/01 that excludes students in training for certain professions from key protections under the ESA;
- Repeal the full-scale exclusion from the ESA for students in experiential learning placements approved by a secondary school board, college of applied arts and technology or a university presently contained in section 3(5) of the ESA. Enact new provisions applying the six-part test presently contained in section 1(2) of the ESA to these positions. Hold secondary school boards, colleges of applied arts and technology and universities to a duty to ensure compliance with these provisions;
- Enact a statutory definition of volunteer and take other measures to curb volunteer misclassification;
- Allow for anonymous and third party complaints under the ESA;
- Expand the use of proactive enforcement under the ESA; and
- Amend the LRA to provide broader protection for collective action undertaken by interns and other non-unionized employees.
“It’s time we protect the vulnerability of students and interns by bridging the gaps that have allowed them to be exploited for far too long,” said Schenella Pinto, the Canadian Intern Association’s Director of Research.
“The submissions from the Canadian Intern Association shine a light on how young workers, students, and interns continue to be exploited by employers in Ontario,” added General Counsel Andrew Langille, “Law reform to modernize the rules around internships and to promote paid work is incredibly important.”
The Canadian Intern Association’s full recommendations are available online below.