Liberal Government Must End Use of Unpaid Internships in the Civil Service


OTTAWA – The NDP Critic for Jobs, Employment and Workforce Development, Niki Ashton (Churchill-Keewatinook Aski), is calling on the federal government to put an end to the use of unpaid internships within the federal public service and to develop a comprehensive strategy that will end the practice of unpaid internships.

“The use of unpaid internships sends the message to millennials that their work and contribution to the federal public service isn’t valuable enough to be paid,” said Ashton, “Continuing to allow unpaid internships within the civil service is unacceptable. In the past the Minister agreed with me.”

In November 2014, Liberal MP Scott Brison said the government should “ban unpaid internships.” Today Brison is the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister responsible for overseeing the public service.

“During the election the Liberals proposed to create opportunities for young Canadians, however shortly after taking office, the Liberal government chose to move ahead with the Conservatives’ plan to standardize the use of unpaid labour,” stated Ashton. “The longer this government waits to take real action, the longer young workers remain exposed to exploitation."

In the last parliament, the NDP introduced the Intern Protection Act.  The bill proposed to extend the same workplace protections that cover all paid employees to unpaid interns and would have prohibited unpaid work not affiliated with an educational program in federally regulated industries.

The youth unemployment rate for July 2016 is 13.3%, almost double the national average.

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