Human resources professionals sour on unpaid internships: Survey

Many interns performing work of paid employees
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/07/2014

Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of HR professionals in Ontario feel unpaid internships that are not part of an educational or training program should be illegal, according to a Pulse Survey conducted by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in partnership with Canadian HR Reporter.

Internships should not be considered free labour, according to John Breakey, CEO of Fivel, a Mississauga, Ont.-based technology adoption learning company with 15 employees.

“I’m not really keen on unpaid people, I think it abuses the opportunity,” he said. “You have to be careful as corporations not to abuse the privilege and the opportunity, just from a fairness perspective. Oftentimes, an intern has some level of living expenses and so (employers) shouldn’t treat them as if they’re outside the employment environment.”