The internship inspection blitz that ran from April 1 to June 15, 2014, was the fourth employment standards blitz conducted by the Ministry of Labour.
“Internship” is a term commonly used to describe a temporary work arrangement that involves a person working at a business in a beginner or junior position, who may or may not receive pay for that work.
Generally, if you perform work for another person or a company or other organization and you are not in business for yourself, you would be considered to be an employee, and therefore entitled to Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) rights such as the minimum wage.
There are some exceptions, but they are very limited, and the fact that you are called an intern is not relevant to whether your internship should be paid or unpaid. There are also exemptions for secondary school students in co-op work experience programs for credit or programs approved by a college of applied arts and technology or a university.
During the blitz, employment standards officers visited workplaces in the Greater Toronto Area in sectors known to employ a high proportion of interns. The officers checked for contraventions of the ESA. In particular, they checked whether unpaid interns were present and, if so, whether they were employees under the ESA and entitled to be paid.
Examples of sectors visited include:
56 inspections were completed:
An employment standards officer can issue a non-monetary Compliance Order if the officer finds that the employer has not complied with the ESA. The officer can order an employer or other person to comply with the ESA.
Where monetary contraventions are found and voluntary compliance was not achieved, an officer issues an Order to Pay Wages.