Reader’s Digest Canada advertises illegal internship

Reader’s Digest Media Canada is a “multi-brand and multi-platform” media and direct marketing company. It publishes five magazines, including Reader’s Digest.

Today we came across their advertisement for a “Print & Web Graphic Design Internship.” Based on the contents of this advertisement, it is very clear that this intern would actually be doing the work of an employee. This internship does not appear to meet the criteria under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, meaning the intern would be entitled to minimum wage. To learn more about the law surrounding internships in Ontario and other Canadian provinces, visit out What is the Law? page.

Here are a few reasons why this “intern” is actually an employee:

  1. Duration – the position is full-time for four months (Sept 1-Dec 20, Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm)
  2. Qualifications – the position not only requires a secondary school diploma, but “2 years graphic design/ web design experience at a post-secondary level”
  3. Skills Requirements – ability to use a number of graphic design softwares, such as Adobe Photoshop and Flash
  4. Application Requirements – to apply they require a portfolio containing 8-10 pieces “with a focus on editorial and advertising samples”

The kicker is what is listed under “compensation”: a TTC monthly metro pass. This is clearly not even remotely close to adequate compensation for the work this person would be doing, under the law or just ethically.

The Canadian Intern Association is calling on Reader’s Digest Media Canada to pay the intern that fills this position at least the minimum wage. He or she is certainly a very skilled individual that will be performing work for your company and helping it to generate profits. Plus, if this intern is not paid, we will encourage him or her to file a claim with the Ontario Ministry of Labour for unpaid wages. If you are an intern that wants to file a claim against your employer, visit our Claim Back Your Pay page.

Check out the PDF of the full Reader’s Digest Canada “Print & Web Graphic Design Internship” advertisement:

———————————————– UPDATE ———————————————–

I sent a link to this webpage yesterday to the recruitment person at Reader’s Digest Canada. Today they responded with an email saying that they “take such concerns very seriously.” We can only hope that the people creating the internship were unaware of the laws and will take steps to make sure the internship complies with Ontario’s employment standards. I will be sure to post if I hear anything else from them.

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