We’re pleased to present lawyer Andrew Langille of Youth and Work on what the law in Ontario says about unpaid internships. Here, Andrew focuses on the impact of unpaid internships on interns themselves, but organizations and businesses that use or hope to use unpaid interns must pay attention. It is crucial to know whether your intern is legally an intern (and therefore not subject to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act), or actually an employee. And the answer might surprise you.
There are a lot of factors to employee engagement. Some employees need recognition, in the form of pay, benefits, seniority or favour. Others need to feel that they are part of the company and have a stake in its success. Still others need to feel a connection to their work; it must be creative and challenging. Most workers probably need some balance of all these factors. I know I wouldn’t last long in a dull and repetitive environment. But I also would feel unappreciated if I weren’t remunerated appropriately.