Ontario government blitz cracks down on unpaid internships

Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn holds up papers in the legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto, Monday, May 25, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The Ontario government says it recovered nearly $140,000 in wages owed to interns after conducting a blitz at workplaces across the province.

The Ministry of Labour says between September and December last year, its employment standards officers investigated 123 workplaces believed to have internship programs.

They found that out of 77 workplaces that had interns, almost a quarter did not meet the requirements under the Employment Standards Act.

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They also found more than 50 per cent had intern programs that were exempt from the act.

Under the act, there are limited circumstances where a person can work as an unpaid intern, such as under school co-op work experience programs done for credits.

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Labour Minister Kevin Flynn says it’s imperative that employers know their obligations to interns and are following the rules.

The ministry says its blitz found $140,630 in wages that were owed to interns, of which $138,731 has been recovered.

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