22 of 961 unpaid interns employed by federal government hired for paid jobs

January 13, 2015

The federal government has employed 961 unpaid interns since 2008, but only 22 of those were subsequently hired to work for the government. The government released the information, which includes data from 32 federal agencies, in response to a query from NDP MP Laurin Liu about the Post-Secondary Co-Operative Education and Internship Program. Veterans Affairs employed the most interns, separately from the program; of 142 employed since 2008, only one was later hired as a paid employee. Of 57 interns employed by the Department of National Defence, 7 were offered jobs. A number of other departments reported that they did not track their unpaid interns, with others saying that they lacked data for several years. A spokesperson for Veterans Affairs said that the internship program “provides high-school and university students with on-the-job training and valuable work experience in an office environment to complement education and to help fulfill program requirements.” Liu, who has put forward a bill to limit the use of non-educational internships in federally regulated industries and to extend workplace standards and safety provisions to interns, said that the hiring rate was “really dismal.” The NDP has previously introduced federal and provincial legislation with the intention of protecting interns. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star