The Government of Canada strengthens federal labour standards for work-integrated learning
September 1, 2020 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
Young people need opportunities to develop their skills and gain the practical, hands-on experience they need to find good-quality jobs. The Government of Canada wants to make sure that they are protected while they get that experience, because supporting young Canadians is an investment in the future of our country.
Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour, announced the coming into force of changes to federal labour standards. The changes strengthen protections and regulations for internships in federally regulated workplaces and build on other efforts to protect young workers, including anti-harassment and violence legislation such as Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1.
As of today, interns in federally regulated workplaces are recognized in two ways and entitled to new protections:
- Interns: individuals seeking to obtain knowledge or experience through a temporary placement in a workplace that is not part of an educational program. They will have the same labour standards protections as employees, including the right to be paid at least the minimum wage.
- Student interns: students undertaking a temporary placement in a workplace that fulfills the requirements of an educational program. They may be unpaid and will be entitled to certain labour standards protections set out in the new regulations.
Employers in federally regulated workplaces, educational institutions and associations—as well as interns—can consult the following resources to understand the new requirements and their rights and obligations:
- Federal labour standards for interns and student interns
- Federally regulated employer obligations towards interns and student interns
These changes to the federal labour standards will help ensure that interns and student interns get the protections and experience they need to succeed.
“Young people play a vital role in our society. They help shape Canada’s workplaces with new ideas and experiences. That is why the Government is committed to providing them with the support and protections they need as they acquire the skills and experience that will help them succeed.”
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour
The final Standards for Work-Integrated Learning Activities Regulations were published in Part II of the Canada Gazette on July 8, 2020. Amendments to Part III of the Canada Labour Code, introduced by the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 (Bill C-59) and amended by the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 (Bill C-63), received Royal Assent in December 2017.
These changes build on other efforts to protect young workers working in federally regulated workplaces. As of January 1, 2021, when Bill C-65 comes into force, all employees and interns will be better protected from workplace harassment and violence, including sexual harassment.
As more and more employers shift to virtual workplaces and platforms, the Government of Canada is committed to protecting the mental health and the work-life balance of Canadian workers. The federal government has created a virtual network of psychosocial supports called Wellness Together Canada and is also moving forward on the commitment to give federally regulated workers the “right to disconnect.”
Office of the Honourable Filomena Tassi, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Labour
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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