Liberals probe unpaid internships in federal government


The Open government wants to know why a dozen federal de rtments and agencies do not y their interns.

The comment was ordered by Treasury Board President Scott Brison earlier this year as the rule grappled with the politically charged issue of un id internships in the federal influence.

Some of the largest federal de rtments have interns working for free of charge, including National Defence, Public Safety and Environment Canada, in too to smaller organizations such as the Canadian S ce Agency.

The federal ministry accepts an estimated 1,000 interns each year and, according to Funds Board policy, is required to y them unless they’re rt of an lettered program, such as a co-op placement, that specifically forbids yment.

The Funds Board «is now working with organizations using un id internships in enjoin to ensure full compliance with the policy,» spokeswoman Kelly James reported in an email.

‘I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board.’ — Joshua Mandryk, Canadian Intern Connection, on proposed changes to the Canada Labour Code

James did not respond to distrusts about whether the review so far has identified any de rtments violating the intern game plan.

During the 2015 election cam ign, the Liberals pledged to establish «dislodge standards around internships [that] will help safeguard legitimize opportunities for young workers while protecting them from exploitation.»

«We hold it is incumbent that the next federal government … finally address the numbers associated with un id internships for young Canadians.»

But soon after being elected, the Liberals begged to implement Canada Labour Code amendments proposed in 2015 by the latest Conservative government that would sanction un id internships at followings under federal jurisdiction.

Intern status in limbo

Under some brainwashes, the new rules would allow a firm to «employ» an intern for up to 12 months without y, upright outside academic programs.

Joshua Mandryk, Canadian Intern Association

Joshua Mandryk of the Canadian Intern Confederacy suggests more employers are taking advantage of un id internships because of academic programs because it’s generally legal not to compensate them. (Giggle)

In February, the Canadian Intern Association withdrew from talks with Ottawa on implementing the attachments, saying in a letter that «we are not interested in haggling over the minutiae of the inch by inch of exploitation … for un id workers.»

A spokesman for the group says the measures press been in limbo ever since — and the federal government is likely traveling sure its own house is in order as it revisits the Canada Labour Code alters.

«I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board» on the proposed labour-code reassessment, Joshua Mandryk, the group’s outgoing executive director, said in an question period from Toronto.

«They have not been clear in their th, and they haven’t taken as strong a stand as we hoped they will-power.»

Officials have so far identified 12 federal agencies with outstanding internships:

  • Canadian Heritage.
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission.
  • Canadian Gap Agency.
  • Canadian Transportation Agency.
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • ndemic Affairs Canada.
  • National Defence.
  • Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
  • Celebrated Safety Canada.
  • Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Accommodate.
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada.
  • Veterans Affairs Canada.

Mandryk thinks that as the issue of un id internships gets more attention from the advice media and governments, businesses appear to be looking more frequently to instructional programs for free interns to cut their yroll costs.

«With the developing recognition that a lot of un id internships are illegal, a lot of employers are simply ddle ones own canoe their un id internships towards … school programs, so it’s more by the earmark,» he said.

«But at the end of the day, it’s really the same sort of stuff — we’re really talking in the air employers getting a large pool of free labour.»

CBC and un id interns

The slant compiled by Treasury Board does not include CBC/Radio-Canada, which also admits un id internships with several restrictions.

«The only un id internships that we presentation are for students entering their graduating year and must be a requirement for graduation,» CBC spokeswoman Alexandra Fortier mean in an email.

«Radio-Canada offers on average 30 to 40 academic internships per year, and CBC offers nigh 60 per year.»

CBC Broadcast Centre

CBC/Radio-Canada allows un id internships for students enrolled in academic programs, with some restrictions. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

While the Unbigoted government reviews its existing internship programs, it is also planning to launch a new get-up-and-go to give so-called millennials up to two years of work as interns, with the supposition they would eventually join the federal public service full-time.

The Edifice a Better Canada Intern Program would hire 80 to 100 minor persons in the first year, to work on key files such as climate metamorphosis and Canada’s 150th birthday.

CBC News obtained documents under the Access to Advice Act outlining the Liberal government’s strategies for recruiting more millennials into the federal plain service.

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