Five tips on how to set up a meaningful internship program

With the right parameters, internships can add major value for intern and employer
By Steve Titus
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/16/2016

Unpaid internships made headlines again earlier this year after an advocacy group representing Canadian students raised concerns over proposed regulations that would allow federally regulated workplaces to hire unpaid interns. It was a continuation of a heated debate that saw Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz taken to task for suggesting young people should work for free in order to gain experience. 

Statistics Canada does not track unpaid internships but lobbyists estimate between 100,000 and 300,000 Canadians work for free. While this has been common practice for years at some major employers, it’s only now garnering negative headlines.

In 2014, prominent companies such as Bell Canada were forced to end longstanding unpaid internship programs after a crackdown by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour. And, recently, the Canadian Football League (CFL) came under fire for replacing paid employees with unpaid interns who are only given a nominal honorarium.