Thousands of Quebec students are on strike and on Wednesday, they took their message to the streets with an afternoon demonstration through downtown Montreal.
They are calling for the end of unpaid internships in fields like nursing, social work and occupational therapy.
“It is mostly women-dominated and gender marginalized fields, so we are here to protest for the sheer injustice of not getting paid for our work,” said Jacqueline Ohayon, from McGill University’s Social Work Student Association.
Ohayon is one of 58,000 Quebec students who are on strike this week. She says governments have often used thin budgets for social services as a reason not to pay interns.
“That is exactly what we are saying because they are underfunded, they rely on free work for us,” said Ohayon.
McGill social work students are required to complete an 800-hour internship.
“As in-house visits, making intervention plans, we are essential workers,” said Matthew Savage from the McGill Social Work Student Association.
The province-wide student strike continues until Nov. 24.