Last month, NDP members of both federal and provincial parliaments introduced bills that – if passed – will extend workplace standards and safety provisions to interns under the Canada Labour Code (CLC) and Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). The introduction of these bills is a big step forward in terms of ensuring fairness and equity for interns, while making the conditions related to unpaid internships more comprehensive for employers.
At the federal level, NDP MP Laurin Liu is sponsoring Bill C-636 (also known as the Intern Protection Act), with the intention of amending the CLC. The second reading of Bill C-636 was presented by Liu and debated in the House of Commons on Tuesday, February 17th, 2015. During her introduction of the bill, Liu cited Career Edge’s support of the bill as, “a huge and positive step forward.”
The bill also has the support of other MPs, most notably NDP MP Andrew Cash and Liberal MP Scott Brison. During the second reading, Brison referenced his participation in the finance committee’s Youth Employment Study, which included recommendations that are reflected in the Intern Protection Act.
Bill C-636 is currently in the second reading status and requires committee consideration and a few other stages of debate before it is sent to the Senate.
At the provincial level, NDP MPP Peggy Sattler led the first reading of Bill 64 on Tuesday, February 17th, 2015. Bill 64 – also known as the Protecting Interns and Creating a Learning Economy Act, 2015 – would amend the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act and the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
Prior to the second reading of the bill, Sattler held a media conference the morning of February 19th, 2015 to provide an overview of the legislation and to allow a panel of subject matter experts to speak on the topic of unpaid internships. Career Edge President, Naguib Gouda, was among the panelists and shared our support for the protection of interns, while providing Career Edge’s endorsement of Bill 64.
We are very pleased to report that Bill 64 passed its second reading with all-party support shortly after the media conference and has been referred to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly.
As a staunch advocate for paid internships, and for fair and equitable employment practices, Career Edge is proud to endorse both private member’s bills. Should these bills become law, it is our hope that Canada’s various levels of government and employers will work together to improve the employment standards and socio-economic opportunities – coast to coast – for those striving to launch their careers.