Tory budget bill exposes interns to exploitation
In this Toronto Star op-ed co-authored with Claire Seaborn and Andrew Langille, Josh Mandryk explains why the federal government’s budget implementation bill is bad news for interns.
The authors describe the proposed amendments to the Canada Labour Code as follows:
The proposed amendments … would allow federally regulated employers to “hire” interns for four to 12 months without pay if certain conditions are met. For example, the internship must “primarily” benefit the intern, the employer must “supervise” the intern and the intern cannot “replace” any employee. These conditions are overbroad, unclear and inadequate. They permit employers to extract work from interns by providing minimal training and no remuneration.
They go on to note that most federal employers do not need unpaid labour:
What’s most galling about these reforms is that essentially all federally regulated employers are capable of paying their interns. These are large, national organizations in the telecommunications, banking and transportation industries. We cannot quite understand why these employers would not have to pay wages while non-profit organizations, start-ups and small businesses are required to pay interns (who are not receiving school credit) minimum wage under provincial employment laws.