OTTAWA – May 18th, 2015 - The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is disappointed that the proposed measures to the Canada Labour Code do not go far enough to protect interns. The recent amendments deviate from many of the specific clauses that CASA believes is necessary to protect interns in a meaningful way.
“CASA was initially optimistic about the government’s budget commitment to protect interns,” said Jonathan Champagne, Executive Director of CASA. “Upon reading the fine print, we can see that the current amendments fall short of ensuring proper workplace standards for interns”. CASA is concerned about the following:
- There are no explicit protections against sexual harassment;
- There are no regulated hours beyond the maximum internship period;
- It allows for federally regulated employers to “hire” interns up to 12 months without compensation.
Nonetheless, CASA is pleased with the government for taking steps towards protecting interns by allowing for basic health, safety standards and workplace protections, and requiring employers to keep records of their internship programs for 36 months.
Moving forward, CASA hopes to work with government and the opposition parties to ensure interns are protected in a comprehensive way. CASA was supportive of C-636, a private members bill by NDP MP Laurin Liu, which satisfied many of the concerns students had regarding internships. Unfortunately, the bill was voted down in advance of the budget.
“Government needs to make even more progress on this file and stand up for students and young workers”, said Jonathan Champagne. “This issue is too important for political posturing; we need changes that ensure comprehensive protections for all interns”.
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Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit national student organization composed of 21 student associations representing 250,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative and of the highest quality.
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