The use of unpaid interns has come under increased media and political scrutiny. Fuelled by horror stories of young interns collapsing under extreme workplace pressures, the issue reached the political agenda. In the summer of 2014, the Ontario Ministry of Labour carried out a highly publicized workplace inspection blitz to determine if intern rights were being respected. Rules governing the appropriate use of interns in Ontario are not new. They had been in place long before the summer 2014 blitz. The rules are set out in section 1(2) of the Employment Standards Act.
On July 15, 2013, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (“OHRC”) released its Policy on Removing the “Canadian Experience” Barrier (the “Policy”) barrier. The purpose of the Policy is to address the fact that new immigrants, with university educations and/or work experience, are denied opportunities for jobs or career advancement because they lack “Canadian Experience” (i.e. Canadian based work experience) and their foreign educational qualification or work experience are not recognized.
You might have heard or read something in the past few months about internships—their status with respect to employment standards and whether it's even legal to employ such workers without paying them. It's no small issue. Many organizations rely on unpaid interns to do work for which they can't afford to hire an employee proper...