In Nova Scotia provincial laws provide some clarity on when interns and students are considered employees and entitled to minimum wage. Under the Labour Standards Code “employee” is defined broadly as “a person employed to do work” and arguably would include interns and students. The regulations provide several exceptions to minimum wage: (1) the apprenticeship exception, (2) the training exception, and (3) the non-profit exception.
(1) The apprenticeship exception states that apprentices are not entitled to minimum wage and are instead regulated by separate legislation.
(2) The training exception states that “all persons receiving training under government sponsored and government approved plans” are not entitled to minimum wage.
(3) The non-profit exception states that “persons employed at a playground or summer camp operated on a non-profit basis” are not entitled to minimum wage.
Effective April 1, 2015, the hourly minimum wage in Nova Scotia is 10.60 for “experienced employees” and $10.10 for “inexperienced employees.”
“Inexperienced employee” means an employee who has not been employed by his or her present or other employer for a total period of three calendar months to do the work for which the employee is employed, but it does not include a person in the employ of an employer for whom he or she has completed three calendar months of employment
“experienced employee” means an employee who is not an inexperienced employee
Health and Safety Rights
In Nova Scotia provincial laws do not provide clear guidance on whether interns and students are entitled to health and safety protections. The Occupational Health and Safety Act defines “employee” as “a person who is employed to do work,” which could arguably include interns and students.
Nova Scotia’s Workers’ Compensation Act clearly includes interns and students within its scope. The legislation defines “worker” to include apprentices, learners, and certain students:
“worker”… includes (i) a person who has entered into or works under a contract of service or apprenticeship, written or oral, express or implied…(iii) a learner, (iv) a student admitted pursuant to Section 6.
“learner” means (i) an apprentice, or (ii) any person who, although not under a contract of service or apprenticeship, becomes subject to the hazards of any industry…for the purpose of undergoing testing, training or probationary work as a preliminary to employment…
6 (1) The Governor in Council, may be order, admit any student of (a) a school as defined in the Education Act; (b) a vocational school, regional vocational school, technical institution, or nay educational facility under the supervision and management of the Minister of Education; or (c) a community college as defined in the Community Colleges Act to the application of this part.
In Nova Scotia interns are entitled to protections against discrimination and harassment in employment under the Human Rights Act, which provides these protections to “an individual.”
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