This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Too many companies taking advantage of desperate students

The winner of last week’s duel on the teachers’ strike vote was Laila with 86%.

This week’s topic:

Are unpaid internships exploitation or a good opportunity for young people entering the job market?

Back in the ‘good old days’ when I first entered the workforce, it was common for university students to take on an internship position with a company over summer break — or even in conjunction with their studies. Back then, the unpaid and temporary positions often did get your foot in the door, in addition to acquiring valuable experience and references. A few of my friends are still with the same corporations or organizations they interned with, proof that at one time these kind of experiences were successful.

Fast forward to 2014 and you’ll find an entirely different economy and job market. With thousands of university students facing stiff competition, the perfect conditions have been created for unpaid internships to be abused across Canada.

In B.C., the law says unpaid interns should only be observing and assisting, and for limited hours each week. If an intern is performing real work, they must be paid for it. The law does differentiate, however, between an internship and a practicum, which is done in conjunction with a learning institution in exchange for student credits.

Read Brent Stafford’s column

Even a brief look back through national news coverage shows a multitude of stories about internships gone wrong…

Read the rest of this weeks column, vote and leave your comments at

3 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Too many companies taking advantage of desperate students

  1. To me, these Internships are just a vast pool of free labor for big companies that can well afford to actually hire someone to do this work. They should be abolished once and for all. Internships are just another way of trying to move back to slave labor .


  2. Unpaid internships are open for abuse and with no one monitoring them then that is what happens. Also the poorer students would not be able to participate in these like students from wealthier households. I would prefer to seed these as equal opportunities. They are a good idea and students should be paid fairly.


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