The Globe and Mail, a national Canadian newspaper, has an article about unpaid internships with interesting comparisons with the United States.
While most internships in Canada have traditionally been paid, tightening budgets and hiring freezes may mean some stipends for internships may soon disappear, says Bill Weber, Toronto-based head of human resources for Drake International. It’s one step away from what is already happening in the United States, where competition for jobs is even more ferocious – so much so that some eager interns are actually forking over thousands of dollars to pay for the privilege of an internship position.
It illustrates well where the road to unfair internships leads: more unfair internships. No wonder it’s illegal.
The editor of the Toronto edition of Metro, a free newspaper (based in Sweden, of all places), tells the world that it is about to break the law.
Earlier this month, the company’s Toronto office laid off four unionized reporters and columnists, saying it will instead use paid freelancers and wire copy for content, and its unpaid interns for copy-editing functions.
A Canadian lawyer recommends to employers to sign a contract with the intern:
A clear statement that the intern is not an employee and will not receive any remuneration.
Details of the training the intern will receive, how long it will last and how it benefits the intern.
Explicitly state that the internship brings with it no possibility of an offer of employment.
What the level of supervision will be and who will provide it.
Whether the intern’s performance will be reviewed and how.
An ability for the employer to end the internship and how it would be done.
The message remains the same: interns are not free labor.