NDP MPs propose federal regulations on internships

June 17, 2014

2 federal NDP MPs have introduced a private member’s bill intended to help protect interns from unsafe or exploitative working conditions. The bill, co-sponsored by MPs Lairin Liu and Andrew Cash, would grant interns the right to refuse dangerous work and protection from sexual harassment; the legislation would also set conditions for the use of interns. The proposed bill would apply only to federally regulated workplaces but Cash said that it is an important first step. “It is a bit of a Wild West out there,” he said, “in that … if you are working at an internship program, you’re at the whims of an employer who is not paying you.” There has recently been strong demand for regulation of internships. As a private member’s bill, this proposed legislation faces an uphill battle. But Matt Ferguson, whose brother Andy was killed in a collision in 2011 after a night shift as an unpaid intern, says he is hopeful that if nothing else the bill will initiate further discussion. The Record