Greater Protection Needed for Unpaid Interns

Queen’s Park, May 2, 2016 – Today during Question Period, Peggy Sattler, Ontario NDP critic for Training, Colleges and Universities, called on the Wynne government to protect all Ontario interns from workplace exploitation, after the Ministry of Labour uncovered widespread violations of the Employment Standards Act during a fall 2015 workplace blitz.

“The results of the blitz are deeply troubling,” Sattler said.

Of the 36 firms with interns that were subject to the Employment Standards Act, fully half were not meeting their obligations under the ESA. As a result of the ministry’s investigation, which focused on a relatively small number of GTA workplaces, the Ontario government recovered nearly $140,000 in wages owed by 18 firms to interns.

“It seems that the minister’s efforts to educate employers are not working,” Sattler said. “While the blitz stopped the exploitation of unpaid interns at 18 firms, what is the minister doing to prevent the thousands of other young people who are working without pay at hundreds more firms across this province?”