According to a release issued by Employment and Social Development Canada, “Young people need opportunities to develop their skills and gain the practical, hands-on experience they need to find good-quality jobs. The Government of Canada wants to make sure that they are protected while they get that experience, because supporting young Canadians is an investment in the future of our country.”

These changes strengthen protections and regulations for internships in federally regulated workplaces and build on other efforts to protect young workers, including anti-harassment and violence legislation such as Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1  that will come into force January 1, 2021.

As of September 1, 2020, interns in federally regulated workplaces are recognized in two ways and entitled to new protections:

  • Interns: individuals seeking to obtain knowledge or experience through a temporary placement in a workplace that is not part of an educational program. They will have the same labour standards protections as employees, including the right to be paid at least the minimum wage.
  • Student interns: students undertaking a temporary placement in a workplace that fulfills the requirements of an educational program. They may be unpaid and will be entitled to certain labour standards protections set out in the new regulations.

The Federally regulated private sector includes:

  • interprovincial and international transportation;
  • banks;
  • telecommunications and broadcasting;
  • grain handling;
  • uranium mining and processing, and atomic energy;
  • First Nations Band councils;
  • certain modern treaty areas; and
  • federal Crown corporations.

Protections include:

  • a limit of 40 hours/week and 8 hours/day, with at least 1 day of rest per week;
  • the right to a modified work schedule;
  • unpaid 30-minute breaks during every 5 consecutive hours of work;
  • unpaid breaks for medical reasons or nursing;
  • 96 hours’ advance written notice of schedules;
  • 24 hours’ advance written notice of a shift change or addition of a shift;
  • 8-hour rest periods between shifts or work periods;
  • 9 general holidays within each calendar year;
  • maternity-related reassignment;
  • protected leaves (such as personal leave, leave for victims of family violence, leave for traditional Indigenous practices, bereavement leave, medical leave and leave for work-related illness and injury); and
  • protections against genetic discrimination and prohibited reprisals.

These resources are available to help you better understand the new requirements: