Claim Back Your Pay

If you have worked as an unpaid intern, you may be entitled to minimum wage for the hours that you worked. Our ‘Claim Back Your Pay’ Campaign aims to:

  • teach interns about their rights under the employment laws that apply to them
  • raise awareness about the issue of exploitative internships
  • help interns file a claim with the Ministry of Labour in Ontario and British Columbia to receive their wages


  • ask your employer about the duration of the employment, the tasks involved, and possible employment opportunities
  • make a budget and consider what you will need to live during an unpaid internship (part-time job, scholarship funds, etc)
  • consider asking for minimum wage for the hours you are working
  • refer to our “What is the law?“page for relevant employment laws surrounding internships in your province


  • keep records of the hours you worked, correspondence with your employer, and any documents you produce
  • collect documents that could back up your claim, such as the job advertisement, an internship contract, or any description of your responsibilities
  • ask your employer for a reference letter and to put you in touch with his or her contacts in the industry


1. Contact your employer

  • if you are in Ontario you must explain to your employer that your employment standard right to minimum wage has been violated and provide them with the amount you believe you are owed in unpaid wages
  • you may not be required to contact your employer in some situations, such as if you are a young worker, you are afraid to do so, or there is language difficulty
  • if you are in British Columbia you must complete the following “Self-Help Kit” before you can file a complaint, which includes an Information Notice and a Request for Payment

2. Collect important documents

  • information about the employers address and contact information (e.g. business card, letter head, job advertisement)
  • a description of your internship (e.g. job advertisement, internship contract, reference letter)
  • records of the hours you worked (e.g. hour log sheet, attendance records, calendar)
  • documents for any stipends or honorariums you received
  • any other relevant documents that will assist with the investigation

3. Complete the online form

Next your file will be assigned to an Officer or Investigator who will contact you about a month after you submit the online form. You will then need to provide him or her with the documents you collected and he or she will investigate your claim.

Please note:

  • you must file your claim or complaint with 6 months of the last day of your internship
  • in British Columbia, you can request that your identity be kept confidential (write “confidential” beside your name on the complaint form). Your name and personal information will then not be disclosed unless necessary.

For more information visit the

Claiming back your pay shouldn’t be too difficult and we want to help you do it. By claiming the wages you deserve back, you will be helping interns across the country and those who can’t afford to work for free.

The Canadian Intern Association does not give legal advice, but we may be able to put you in contact with a lawyer or suggest actions to can take to get paid for your internship. Feel free to e-mail us at with your questions.