Amid a provincial crackdown on unpaid internships, The Walrus magazine is reinstating an internship program that was abruptly ended earlier this year.
But this time, it’s paying the interns.
Following a surprise inspection by Ontario’s Labour Ministry earlier this year, the popular Canadian magazine was among several found to be in violation of provincial labour laws and forced to terminate their unpaid interns.
Three of the Walruses five interns have been hired back for pay, the magazine says.
As a non-profit company, The Walrus claimed they were unable to pay their interns. The Chawkers Foundation, a charity that initially provided funding necessary to
launch magazine, is also providing the funds to pay the interns.
“The vast majority of internships in Canada do not comply with current provincial employment legislation,” said Claire Seaborn is President of the Canadian Intern Association. She said British Columbia and Saskatchewan have joined Ontario in cracking down on unpaid internships.
“Though we’ve seen some movement on the provincial level, change needs to come from the federal government as well.”
That appears unlikely – for now, at least: Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the federal government doesn’t want to meddle in the job marketplace by changing the rules on unpaid internships.
But he does want the government to help add more paid positions.
The federal government announced Friday it’s putting $40 million toward a new program to help fund paid internships for post-secondary graduates. The program is a part of the government’s Youth Employment Strategy and aims to create 3000 internships for graduates in “high demand” industries such as science, technology, engineering, math and some skilled trades.
“To get the job, they need the experience but they can’t get the experience without a job. That situation isn’t good for anybody,” Harper said at Fanshaw College in London, Ont.
“It frustrates young people and it creates real problems for employers.”
The youth unemployment rate sits at 13.6%, more than double the national average.