Co-op programs continue to grow in Canada

April 11, 2014

Following up on a recent report by the Council of Ontario Universities about co-op programs in Ontario, a University Affairs article explores the rapid growth of co-ops in Canada, questioning “whether the rapid expansion can continue without compromising the quality of students’ experiences.” A 2013 report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, using research conducted by Academica Group, discovered that although students considered co-ops and other work-integrated learning programs very valuable, over half of college students and 9% of university students reported participating in unpaid co-op programs. A growing number of organizations and individuals are calling for more oversight from the province around internship and co-op placements to ensure workplace safety for students. "Not all internships are created equal," said Josh Mandryk, co-chair of Students Against Unpaid Internship Scams. "We have serious concerns about the broad exclusion from minimum wage for any and all internships through post-secondary programs.” The COU report also warned that a future challenge will be to ensure that there are enough co-op placements to meet the growing demand. University Affairs | The Charlatan