On Monday, New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament (MP) Laurin Lui introduced a private member’s bill that would limit the number of hours interns work, set stricter conditions for the type of work that interns perform, and allow interns to refuse dangerous work.
The bill would only cover interns at federally regulated employers.
“It is a bit of a Wild West out there in that… if you are working at an internship program, you’re at the whims of an employer who is not paying you. And sometimes that has turned in some cases tragic,” said Andrew Cash, NDP MP of the Davenport electoral district, and co-sponsor of the bill.
Although most private members bills do not become law, some hope that the bill will create conversation around the issue of unpaid internships.
In March, Jonah Schein, former MPP for Davenport, introduced legislation that would provide unpaid interns in Ontario with a range of greater legal protection. The proposed legislation would extend the provisions of the Employment Standards Act (ESA) to interns, giving them many of the same legal rights as paid workers.
With files from CBC News