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Open Letter RE: Ministry of Labour’s crackdown on unpaid internships

By April 3, 2014August 6th, 2019Uncategorized

As a staunch advocate for paid internships, Career Edge supports the Ministry of Labour’s crackdown on internships that violate the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in Ontario.  We believe enforcement of the law is the right thing to do, in order to prevent exploitation of our youth and to protect workers’ rights.

In our opinion, the search for a resolution to the issue of unpaid internships will require the collaboration between the government, employers and our youth:

  1. The government needs to educate employers on the stipulations outlined in the ESA, while safeguarding young people’s rights and ensuring fair and equitable access to career-launching opportunities.
  2. Employers must be willing to invest in our future by ensuring young people receive the experience required to grow professionally and become tomorrow’s leaders.
  3. Young people have a responsibility to educate themselves on their rights and make informed decisions to invest in their career.

From our experience, we know that unpaid internships limit opportunities to a certain socio-economic class – only those who can afford to work without pay have the chance to gain experience in this way.  Paid internships, on the other hand, offer an inclusive and accessible way for young people to transition into the workforce and get the experience needed to launch their career, while being fairly compensated for their work.  With that in mind, we must find ways to make internships work for employers, while ensuring equity for young people entering the labour force.  We must also ensure interns have the opportunity to make a decent living and to get on the right track to a promising career – without restricting the number of opportunities available to them.

Career Edge has remained passionate about connecting recent graduates – including those with disabilities – and internationally qualified professionals with leading organizations for paid internships since 1996; not only because we know it is good business practice, but also because we know it works.  Over fifty five per cent (55.46%) of our interns are hired by their host employer during or immediately after their internship, with the majority of the rest finding work elsewhere within six months of completing their internship.  For this reason, we hope to continue helping the government, employers, and youth leverage internships that launch careers and support Ontario’s social and economic sustainability.


Naguib Gouda
Career Edge Organization