NDP Petition to Protect Unpaid Interns

The NDP have come out with a petition in support of Bill C-636 that would amend federal legislation to provide better protections for interns working for federally regulated organizations.

sign the petition by clicking here

We, the undersigned residents of Canada, recognize the following:

  • Youth unemployment in Canada is close to double the national average.
  • Some companies are replacing entry-level paid positions with unpaid internships.
  • Estimates suggest there are between 100,000 and 300,000 unpaid internships in Canada.
  • Under federal law, unpaid interns have no protections and are at risk of being exploited or abused.

THEREFORE we call upon Members of Parliament to support Bill C-636 The Intern Protection Act, which will extend workplace protections to all interns (paid or unpaid) under the federal labour code and set clear rules on the use of internships to prevent the exploitation of young Canadians.

ABOUT THE BILL

Under current federal law, many interns lack basic health and safety protections and have no limits on the numbers of hours they can be forced to work.

That’s why the NDP has introduced the Intern Protection Act.

The bill will extend health and safety protections to all interns, like the right to refuse dangerous work and freedom from sexual harassment and basic employment standards including right to time off and holidays.

Additionally the Intern Protection Act will introduce clear rules that will limit the use of unpaid internships and prevent the exploitation of young Canadians.

Students are graduating university with massive debts loads only to enter a job market where youth unemployment is nearly double the national rate. They deserve real action from the federal government to stop the ongoing misuse and abuse.

Tom Mulcair’s NDP is the only party pushing for tougher laws regulating unpaid internships.

The Canadian Internship Survey / Enquête sur les stages au Canada

Calling all interns! Please take a few minutes to complete the Canadian Internship Survey:

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY (in english)

The Canadian Intern Association has partnered with University of Victoria Masters of Public Administration students James Attfield and Isabelle Couture to address the gap in knowledge surrounding unpaid internships in Canada. They are undertaking a project to explore the state of unpaid internships and examine the experiences of interns. As part of this project, they have initiated a short survey to gain a better understanding of the effects of unpaid internships and who they affect. The researchers are also interested in hearing the first-hand accounts of interns and interviews will be conducted with interested individuals.

For further information on this project or the researchers you may contact James Attfield jamesattfield@gmail.com.

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Appel à tous les stagiaires francophones! L’enquête sur les stages au Canada est maintenant disponible en ligne en français. Parlez-nous de votre expérience en tant que stagiaire et remplissez ce court sondage pour la première étude de ce genre au Canada.

CLIQUEZ ICI POUR REMPLIR L’ENQUETE (en français)

Ontario Labour Relations Board finds student owed wages

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has confirmed that interns who agree not to be paid may still be entitled to wages if the work they perform looks more than labour than training.

In Sandhu v Brar, Mr. Brar agreed to work as an unpaid co-op student for a computer services company. His work included installing software, answering telephones, and being instructed on how to build personal computers. After working almost 90 hours Mr. Brar filed a claim with the Ministry of Labour for unpaid wages. The Board found the training provided to Mr. Brar was not comparable to “vocational school training” to become a computer technician and that Mr. Brar was entitled to pay for his work.

This decision is certainly a step in the right direction for intern rights. It emphasizes that employers in Ontario cannot avoid paying minimum wage to interns who are performing work, even where that intern has expressly agreed to an unpaid position. To learn more about the law surrounding internships in Ontario visit our What is the Law? page.

Employment lawyers in Ontario are beginning to give intern issues some attention. Sean Bawden from Kelly Stantini LLP in Ottawa is encouraging employers of interns to seek legal advice. In response to the Sandhu v Brar case he notes that the “requirements for unpaid internships are strict and difficult to meet” (“Coop Student Owed Wages Despite Agreement“). The Buchanan Ontario Workplace Law Blog writes that after Sandhu v Brar “there could be interesting times ahead” since the majority of unpaid internships do not meet the criteria set out in the Employment Standards Act (“Growing Controversy over Unpaid Internships“).

If you are an intern that wants to file a claim for unpaid wages, visit our Claim Back Your Pay page or contact info@internassociation.ca.