In 2011, 22-year-old Andy Ferguson died in a head-on collision when he fell asleep at the wheel, after working excessive hours as an unpaid intern at a radio station in Alberta. Today, his brother Matt came to Ottawa to support legislation the NDP tabled that would protect interns.
“Under current federal law there is nothing that prevents unpaid interns from being exploited,” said NDP MP Laurin Liu (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles). “My bill will extend the same workplace protections to interns that employees have, and set clear rules for the use of unpaid internships.”
The Intern Protection Act grants basic protections to all interns in federally regulated industries, such as the right to refuse dangerous work, limits on excessive hours, and protection from sexual harassment. The bill also sets conditions for their use; internships must be primarily for the benefit of the intern, include training, and cannot replace paid employees.
“With youth unemployment sky-high, we are seeing entry level positions being replaced by unpaid internships that exploit young Canadians and the government has done nothing to stop it,” said NDP MP Andrew Cash (Davenport), who has been calling on the federal government to fix current loopholes.