May 28, 2017
The Canadian Intern Association (the “Association”) applauds the Changing Workplace Review’s recommendations related to interns. The Review recommends repealing those portions of section 1(2) of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 that allow employers to avoid paying some interns. If followed, these recommendations will significantly clarify and strengthen interns’ rights. The Association encourages the Ontario government to act swiftly to implement these intern-focused recommendations.
“Everyone who works deserves to get paid. There is no persuasive reason to exclude young people, who already struggle with record levels of debt, from basic workplace protections. This Review’s recommendations are a step in the right direction,” said Amy Kishek, Executive Director of the Association.
“The Changing Workplace Review’s recommendation would eliminate one of the few exceptions in Ontario law that allows employers to avoid paying interns. We thank the Review for hearing from Ontario interns who are desperately trying to gain experience while balancing family and financial obligations,” said Joshua Mandryk, the Association’s Ontario Director.
Currently, interns can be excluded from basic workplace protections – including the minimum wage – if six conditions are met. The Changing Workplace Review found that the test is “unclear and difficult to understand” (p. 274 of the Final Report) and “almost impossible to enforce (ibid). In addition, the Review found that “there is no good policy reason to maintain section 1 (2) of the ESA” (p. 275 of the Final Report).
The Association advocates against the exploitation of interns and for quality, paid internships across Canada. Media inquiries can be directed to Executive Director Amy Kishek at 613-404-4054.