Proposed rules on unpaid intern a 'political problem' for Liberals: advocates

OTTAWA -- The federal Liberals are facing a growing backlash over proposed regulations that would allow federally regulated workplaces to hire unpaid interns, which intern advocates say flies in the face of the government's campaign pledges to help young workers.

See Full Article

The proposed regulations are a holdover from the previous Conservative government, whose last budget bill set the stage for changes to the labour laws to protect unpaid interns.

Labour unions and student groups want the Liberals to change proposals unveiled quietly in December that would allow interns to work unpaid for up to four months full-time or up to a year part-time. The rules would allow that one year of part-time work to be repeated for another year if the intern was not with a company for at least three months.

The Canadian Intern Association said the proposal creates a legal loophole that could lead to young workers finding themselves in precarious jobs.

The association posted a scathing online letter to Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk saying it is pulling out of consultations because it doesn't want to "haggle over the minutiae of the degrees of exploitation."

In a statement Tuesday, Mihychuk said the government plans to address issues associated with unpaid internships and urged all stakeholders to remain part of the government-organized consultations.

"Working to address issues related to unpaid internships is part of our plan to increase the number of good quality, permanent jobs for younger workers," the statement said.

Amy Kishek, director of government relations for the intern association, said holding firm on the regulations "is at odds with the government's commitment to youth job creation." She said the issue is now a political problem for the Liberals that requires a political solution.

The Liberal election platform included spending $1.5 billion over four years to create thousands of jobs, internships and apprenticeships for young people as part of a youth jobs strategy. The party said a Liberal government needed to "take every action" to ensure young workers "have the ability to get their careers off to a strong start."

Groups like the intern association assumed the Liberals would limit unpaid internships to those that were part of an education program.

That wasn't the case when the latest proposals were circulated in December, leaving unions and intern advocates to use a conference call last month to push for a restart of the whole process, said Chris Roberts, social and economic policy director for the Canadian Labour Congress.

Andrew Langille, a Toronto-based lawyer who advocates for young workers, said the proposed rules would be akin to an unpaid probationary period for new hires and would be a radical departure from labour standards in the provinces, the United States and Europe. He said the wording being proposed could also see training periods go unpaid because they are considered of benefit to the intern.

Langille, who is also general counsel for the intern association, said the government's response to the latest development in the saga suggests it is "in the process of contributing to higher youth unemployment and higher rates of precarious work amongst the youth cohort in Canada."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Elon Musk's social media conduct may be bad for his business

    Economic CTV News
    Whether it's investors betting against his stock or reporters or analysts who ask tough questions, Elon Musk has fought back, often around the clock on Twitter. In the past few months, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has become a bigger, more snarling presence on social media. Source
  • Amazon's much-hyped Prime Day runs into snags swiftly

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Amazon's website ran into some snags quickly Monday on its much-hyped Prime Day, an embarrassment for the tech company on the shopping holiday it created. Shoppers clicking on many Prime Day links got only an abashed-looking dog with the words, "Uh-oh. Source
  • 'Strong but not stellar' quarter for Netflix shows higher profit, but slower subscriber growth

    Economic CBC News
    Netflix released second quarter earnings after stock markets closed on Monday, and while the streaming giant revealed it added fewer new customers than anticipated, it still added more than 5 million people to its customer base in the past three months. Source
  • CRTC invites public, employee comment on misleading telecom sales practices

    Economic CTV News
    GATINEAU, Que. -- Canadian consumers are being invited to tell a federal regulator about their personal experience with misleading or abusive sales practices at the country's telecommunications companies. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will accept written comments by Aug. Source
  • U.S. files challenge against Canadian tariffs with WTO

    Economic CTV News
    The United States says it's firing back at the Canadian government's recent retaliatory tariffs on American imports by launching a formal challenge with the World Trade Organization. The federal Liberal government introduced reciprocal duties earlier this month on some U.S. Source
  • U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada's retaliatory tariffs

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government's retaliatory tariffs on American imports by launching a formal challenge with the World Trade Organization. The Trump administration also called countermeasures aimed at the U.S. Source
  • Energy stocks weigh on Toronto market, while loonie climbs higher

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Canada's main stock index was in the red in late-morning trading as losses in the energy sector led the way lower. The S&P/TSX composite index was down 77.67 points to 16,483.45, after 90 minutes of trading. Source
  • Energy, pot stocks weigh on Toronto market, while loonie climbs higher

    Economic CTV News
    Canada's main stock index closed in the red as a drop in crude prices pushed energy stocks lower, while U.S. stocks were mixed. The August crude contract fell $2.95 or 4.15 per cent to close at US$68.06 after U.S. Source
  • Ontario trade minister heads to Washington to defend auto industry

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario's trade minister will be travelling to Washington this week to defend the province's auto industry at a U.S. Department of Commerce hearing. Jim Wilson says he will be speaking Thursday at the public hearing to investigate national security issues around imports of automobiles and automotive parts. Source
  • U.S. launches tariff challenge at WTO against Canada, Mexico, Turkey, China and EU

    Economic CBC News
    The United States has launched five separate complaints at the World Trade Organization against Canada, China, the European Union, Mexico and Turkey, in response to retaliatory tariffs those countries and groups have launched against American products. Source