OTTAWA – The NDP is hoping to end the “Wild West” exploitation of unpaid interns with a new private member’s bill that would cap the hours an intern can work for federally-regulated employers.
The bill, to be introduced today by New Democrat MP Lairin Liu, would grant interns the right to refuse dangerous work.
If enacted, it would also set conditions for the use of interns and offer them protection from sexual harassment.
Matt Ferguson, the brother of 22-year-old Andy Ferguson, who died in a head-on collision in 2011 after working excessive hours as an unpaid intern at a radio station in Alberta, is supporting the legislation.
Ferguson says he’s convinced that his brother’s death was the result of being forced to work for too many hours, regardless of whether he was unpaid.
And he says any law that prevents interns from being over-used by an employer is a huge step in the right direction.