I agree to Idea Eliminate Unpaid Internships
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I disagree to Idea Eliminate Unpaid Internships


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Eliminate Unpaid Internships

The simplest way to do this is to make a (short) list of places where you can work without being paid and ensure that this is being followed province-wide.

Submitted by 1 year ago

Comments (19)

  1. Teddy Boragina Idea Submitter

    Jobs that could go unpaid would be things like Volunteering, for example, or any other complex issue that I may be missing.

    1 year ago
  2. I agree with this recommendation. Colleges and universities should be prohibited from placing students with any employer who offers unpaid internships. Somehow it has become standard practice for employers to expect to have students working for no wage. Students are graduating with unprecedented debt load and without an opportunity to make a wage during co-op or internships they are in financial trouble from the get go. There should be employer incentives to hire students and new grads and a prohibition against unpaid internships.

    1 year ago
  3. Moderator

    Can you expand on some possibilities of how this could be enforced?

    1 year ago
    1. Employers have to submit employment records as part of corporate taxes, so you could simply have Revenue Canada report employers who had listed employees for tax subsidies but who they didn't receive any tax dollars from.

      1 year ago
  4. Universities and colleges are provincially funded and as a result, the province can create policies just like the Ministry of Education makes policies for elementary and secondary schools. In some programs it is impossible to find an internship or co-op that are paid. Employers are simply taking advantage of a cheap labor pool. If they were to be given an incentive like a tax credit or funding to take on students, there is more likelihood that students are going to be hired on at the end, instead of some other student being hired in the next semester for no pay. I think that this trend has contributed in part to the difficulty of students to find full time positions in their fields after graduation.

    1 year ago
    1. There is a tax credit for hiring students. I am unsure if it is Federal, Provincial, or both.

      1 year ago
  5. ts

    Unpaid internships attached to education are important. My degree required extensive intern work. It is where I got my best education and those providing it worked hard to support my learning. It was a great experience. The unpaid part goes both ways. As a mentor/supervisor of an unpaid intern there was a good deal of work involved and extra hours spent ensuring the intern was getting a good experience and learning.

    On the other hand unpaid labour masked as an internship is wrong. Internships must meet a strict criteria and should always be attached to a course of study where a pass or fail can be attributed to the experience. The payment is the credit received.

    1 year ago
  6. Seriously? Slavery isn't legal. Every single one of these interns has chosen to work for free. That is their right - you can't make that choice for them. They aren't doing this for the good of their "employer". The decision is purely out of self-interest. They intend to use the experience and skills they gain to further their careers and make more money and have greater job satisfaction. If they didn't want to work for free guess what - they wouldn't.

    Stop muddling in other people's lives and go do something.

    1 year ago
    1. Is this a serious comment? What you said completely ignores the fact that many students MUST complete internships to graduate, and many are unpaid. Students are already paying to attend school, then have to pend their time working for free somewhere instead of earning a living wage. It IS slavery. Any internship I have ever done I learned very little and did menial work, despite going above and beyond what was required.

      The self-interest comes from the "employers" who get free slave labour. Do you think we like to operate in that kind of system? The reason we are asking for change here is because many people feel trapped. Some key rules of internships are that they must not substitute for a paid position, do work that would earn the company money, and must not be given under the impression that it COULD lead to work. Many of these rules are being broken to lure young people desperate to get jobs into taking unpaid internship against the law. It's not because we just looove to work for free. It's because schools and job placements are taking advantage of young people in a time of very high youth unemployment.

      1 year ago
  7. Unpaid internships are essentially slavery. They should be banned.

    1 year ago
  8. Yes, internships have value to students looking to gain experience in their field of study, who also hope that they will result in an offer of employment. However, there is no incentive for the employer to hire an intern to do a job that they can continue to get for free by taking on another intern. Students are powerless in this situation because their program requires an internship and it is a valuable experience, so they will take an unpaid position. The universities making these requirements should have the onus of responsibility to make reforms. They are still collecting outrageous tuition fees while the students are off site doing their internships and often times they prohibit students from being compensated for more than just course credit. The universities do have leverage over employers offering internship spots because they are giving the employers a source of newly educated potential employees. If the university favoured employers willing to pay interns for their work there would be change. If this was standard practice employers would not have a choice. Also, I don't think there would be backlash of employers no longer willing to take on paid interns because an intern would still be less expensive than hiring a regular employee. Business are concerned about their bottom line, universities profess their purpose is education. The government should encourage universities to stop acting less like businesses in this regard and put the focus back on students.

    1 year ago
    1. Just to add to your comment, sometimes the Universities even charge the student extra to pay employers to take on students in unpaid internships. For example, Nurse Practioner students at UofT have to pay a $1000 to work in an internship after already paying tuition. Othertimes, they charge students supposedly for the costs of finding an internship. In one program at UofT they charge over $500 per internship and there is very good reason to believe that they are really just using the costs to pay for normal administrative work.

      1 year ago
  9. Teddy Boragina Idea Submitter

    For the record: While this is an issue I support, I only posted it because nobody else had. This is not an issue that's as close to my heart as my electoral reform or public transit proposals. It's not something I have the will to be the 'driving force' behind, so if anyone wants to adopt this as "theirs" they are free to do so.

    1 year ago
  10. Why? This gives young people much needed experience and gives them something impressive to pad their resume with...and if they do a good job then when the internship is over the company themselves will likely hire the student.

    If we take this away we are taking away thousands of internships altogether, and now students will only be able to find jobs in places like fast food to gain the experience they need which teaches no useful skills at all in the field they want.

    1 year ago
    1. Companies are replacing entry level positions with unpaid internships. It's actually become easier to make a living flipping burgers than to make ends meet in highly educated fields. I know many people with Masters degrees who are being told by companies that they must work 60+ hours a week for free, sometimes for years on end. It's in the best interest of big not-for-profit groups to have highly educated "volunteers".

      At the very least there should be stricter regulations or some sort of fee paid to the student to reimburse them for transit costs. If schools are advertising their internship programs, those internships should be paid, otherwise it's just the businesses and the school teaming up together to look good. The placements usually don't lead to anything because the company will simply wait for the next batch of college interns. I have seen the system in action both as an intern and as an employee, it's sadly predictable.

      1 year ago
    2. I learned a lot at McDonalds.

      1 year ago
  11. No unpaid internships period. Opportunity with non-profit organization are called volunteer opportunities not internship.

    1 year ago
  12. Unpaid internships distort the labour market, and bring wages down for everyone. They impede the earning potential of the next generation, as they are starting from the lowest possible paybracket.

    1 year ago
  13. I think there are other ways to regulate this as well.

    1) The individual has to receive course credit from a university or college; or

    2) The work can be no more than 10 hours per week (possibly with a cap on the length of placement as well - four months max?).

    3) Possibly an outright ban on unpaid work with for-profit companies. (Or again on length - in the publishing industry, internships are 1-2 weeks max and for experience/exposure).

    I'm trying to find a way to balance the needs of young people to survive, with the realities of non-profit organizations who survive (probably unfairly) on unpaid labour. If they're doing an essential job (Which should require >10 hours/week), they need to be paid.

    1 year ago

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    1 year ago